ALSO SEE: Report & Scores: 3rd ODI
BANGALORE: The faint quaver in his voice ill behoved him, but for the most part young Baba Aparajith handled the rites of a post-match dissection – make that a post-loss dissection – with the same assuredness that he showed at the crease.
And why should he have not.
The son of the Indian cricket team’s media manager, the 19-year-old top-scored with a patient 78 as the ‘A’ side went down in the third and decisive ‘ODI’ to their West Indian adversaries on Thursday, and said later that he was out here to be his own man.
“I just wanted to be myself,” he described his 96-ball knock.
“Each time I bat I follow a process, a routine, that helps me to relax and express myself better at the crease.”
If means of expression was what he was seeking, he need have looked no further than at the other end, where Yuvraj Singh was holding a masterclass in conveying the message to the bowler.
Yuvraj slammed three massive sixes as the pair compiled 112 for the third wicket -- India’s highest partnership of the game, but was unable to complete the job.
“This was the first time I was batting with him. It was a nice experience. He was striking the ball well and I wanted to take singles and give him the strike,” Aparajith said.
Yuvraj’s dismissal placed the onus of chasing down the big target on Aparajith and he made a fist of it before being bowled by left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul.
By then, the Chennai lad had served notice with a range of shots: driving with confidence, staying back to cut, and stepping out to strike Permaul for his only six.
“I like to bat long and then play my shots. I use my feet against the spinners, rotate the strike and gradually build my innings.”
Aparajith, whose twin brother Indrajith also plays age-group cricket for Tamil Nadu, was part of the Unmukt Chand-led Indian team that won the Under-19 World Cup last year in Australia. It was in Unmukt’s stead that Aparajith played on Thursday after his former captain had had a succession off failures.
India ‘A’ and West Indies ‘A’ will now meet in a Twenty20 match in Bangalore on Saturday.