When Abhimanyu Easwaran tried too hard to score a hundred and build on a good start in his recent India A stint, head coach Rahul Dravid had advised him to stay in the present and take one over at a time.
The approach helped the Bengal opener compose an unbeaten 183 off 211 balls to guide his state to a colossal victory over Delhi in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B encounter, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on Wednesday.
Chasing 322, Bengal lost only three wickets with Abhimanyu leading the charge with 23 fours and two sixes. “We knew that we were going for it. We had to go for an outright win to stay alive in the tournament. When we had 100 on board with no loss, we knew we could go for it,” he told Sportstar a few minutes after the historic chase.
In November, Abhimanyu appeared in two unofficial Tests for India A against New Zealand A in Whangarei and Hamilton. The gig upped his self-belief. “When you are with Dravid sir, it always gives you confidence. He told me to stick to the process and never think of scoring a 100 in the first place. That’s what you got to do when you bat, the runs will come.”
“I never thought of a 200. All I wanted to do is stay till the end and get 322 runs. It was a must-win game.”
Wicket and bowlers
The Eden Gardens outfield assisted the Bengal batsmen with their timing. They defied the risks and took on the Delhi bowlers. “The risk will remain at the back of the mind. You need to switch at times. We kept it simple. We batted according to deliveries. But we knew we will have a chance if we had wickets in hand. With that outfield, we knew we would put away anything that was full or short,” he added.
Abhimanyu feels it’s the application of the batsmen that won the game for Bengal. “It was a good wicket but we probably applied ourselves much better to get those runs in the second innings,” said Abhimanyu, who finished with 223 runs in two innings to earn the Player of the Match award.