Life hasn’t changed for Aparajith after u-19 WC

Aparajith believes that his well-wishers and teammates have helped him stay grounded.

New Delhi: Less than two months after turning 18, Baba Aparajith was representing India in the u-19 World Cup in Australia. After winning the title, the team led by Unmukt Chand was the toast of the nation, and having been one of the more successful players in the tournament, everyone wanted a piece of Aparajith.

One wouldn’t have been too surprised if all the adulation got to his head.

But Aparajith believes that his well-wishers and teammates have helped him stay grounded.

“Yes, everyone congratulated me on the victory. But life didn’t change for me. I was expected to be the regular boy that I was before the triumph. Back in the Ranji fold, I am expected to work just as hard as any other player and am treated equally. No freebies for being part of a World Cup winning squad (laughs),” Aparajith told MAIL TODAY on Friday as his team — Tamil Nadu — prepared to take on Delhi in their Ranji Trophy encounter.

Breaking into the national team is a dream for every player and with the amount of talent on the circuit, budding cricketers nowadays are more than happy to be typecast as specialists. While some specialise in playing the longer versions of the game, there are others who are intent on excelling in Twenty20.

But having made a name by shining at the u-19 level, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder wants to represent the country in all three formats.

“Playing for India is every cricketer’s dream and I am no different. But I wouldn’t like to limit myself to any particular format. I would like to excel in all formats. Making adjustments and playing with the same comfort level is the real challenge for a cricketer,” he said.

Aparajith has the numbers to back his claim.

Having displayed his batting and bowling skills in the ICC U-19 World Cup, he has started the Ranji Trophy season in impressive fashion — 174 runs in three matches at an average of 58.

His century — 112 — against a strong Karnataka attack speaks volumes about the 18-year-old’s mental make-up.

At a time when most upcoming cricketers are looking to bag an offer in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), Aparajith wants to use the domestic season to hone his skills and catch the selectors’ eye.

“I have been doing well in the Ranji Trophy and things are looking good. I want to stick to the basics and keep doing the good work that I have done so far and knock on the doors of the national selectors. Selection isn’t something that any player has a hold over, but as a player my job is to perform to the best of my ability and leave the rest to them,” he signed off.

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