Vijay Hazare Trophy: I just hope to carry this form forward, says Aparajith

From seven matches, the 25-year-old has amassed 439 runs, with a hundred and four fifties. He averages 109.75 and has a strike rate of 80.84.

Baba Aparajith celebrates his century.   -  PTI

Tamil Nadu is playing some fabulous cricket at the moment and Baba Aparajith is one of the main reasons for that. He has easily been one of the standout performers at the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament.

From seven matches, the 25-year-old has amassed 439 runs, with a hundred and four fifties. He averages 109.75 and has a strike rate of 80.84.

He is indeed topping the batting chart and he hasn’t done badly with the ball either. He has taken seven wickets with his off-spin.

And if he continues to bowl the way he did against Railways in the last match – he took four for 30 from 10 overs to register his career best figures – more wickets could come his way, not just in this tournament.

“Well, that is what I want to do, to be a genuine all-rounder, and this tournament has given me more confidence that I could do it,” Aparajith told Sportstar.

“And yes, to take four wickets and score a hundred in the same match is a great feeling. It was disappointing though that I could not attend the funeral of my grandfather, who died a few days ago. I was close to him.”

He added he was determined to get that hundred, after making 86 not out and 87 in his previous outings.

“So I was very pleased when I got my century and I have to thank my partner Vijay Shankar for that, for giving me enough strike during our chase,” he said. “I am also grateful to our coach D. Vasu and captain Dinesh Karthik for having faith in me.”

Aparajith revealed he had already been told that he would be bowling more in the tournament. “So I was prepared for longer spells,” he said. “I would be happy to keep on bowling lot more overs.”

Aparajith is delighted that he could start the season in such great form. “It is a long season that is in front of us. I just hope to carry this form forward,” he said.

That, he knows, would take him closer to his goal of playing for the senior Indian team. He had played a crucial role in India’s triumph at the Under-19 World Cup in 2012.

Hanuma Vihari, his team-mate then, has already played Test cricket. “I have to keep on working hard,” he said.

Aparajith said he was missing his twin brother Baba Indrajith, who hasn’t recovered from his shoulder injury yet. “Not just me, but the whole team is missing him,” said Aparajith. “I had enjoyed playing him under his captaincy in the Ranji Trophy last year.”