No space for pace

Abhimanyu Mithun says hectic Ranji Trophy schedule isn’t ideal for fast bowlers to sustain speed.

Abhimanyu Mithun [File] makes a pertinent point. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: No sooner did Abhimanyu Mithun make his Ranji Trophy debut for Karnataka in 2009 than news spread about a 6’2” pacer who not only had the build of a fast bowler, but could actually bowl at a decent pace.

While it is common for Indians to get excited about anyone bowling around the 138kph mark — due to a dearth of express bowlers in the country — the lanky paceman caught the eye of the then Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings.

But over the years, one hasn’t seen Mithun make batsmen hop like he did in his early days on the domestic circuit. Even though he is still mighty effective — having finished with 41 wickets in this year’s Ranji Trophy  — it is more about controlled aggression and maintaining a good line and length.

Mithun said that while he can still manage to trouble batsmen with his pace, he prefers banking on swing and movement off the wicket. The pacer feels the hectic schedule of the Ranji Trophy doesn’t give fast bowlers enough time to recover after a match — essential for a bowler to bowl fast.

“If you saw me at the start of the season, I was bowling fast. But the problem is that when you are playing day in and day out, the body starts complaining and you can’t really keep bowling at top speeds.”

“Moreover, the recovery time isn’t much as you are playing almost every week. So by the time one is playing the sixth or seventh match in the Ranji season, one has no choice but to cut down on pace as the body is fatigued. If a paceman does not understand the signals, he will surely end up getting injured and spending time on the sidelines,” Mithun told MAIL TODAY.

But the Karnataka bowler does harbour hopes of adding to the four Tests he has played for India and feels his performance in this season’s Ranji Trophy should stand him in good stead.

“I think I am bowling well right now and with the Indian Premier League coming up, I want to use that platform as well to knock on the doors of the selectors. At the end of the day, every cricketer dreams of playing for the country and I am no different. I am more experienced now and have learnt to handle myself better. I wouldn’t say that my national call-up came too early, but I was definitely not as aware as I am now,” the 24-year-old bowler said.

Reflecting on what he gained from his stint in the Indian team, Mithun said: “I learnt a lot about being a thorough professional and how one should carry oneself.”

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