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Abhimanyu Mithun: W.T.F

By Himanshu Shekhar | Last Updated: Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 00:25
Himanshu Shekhar
The Compulsive Pilgrim

Abhimanyu Mithun…W.T.F. He is not even ten weeks old in first class circuit. That was my immediate reaction after I heard that the wise men of Indian selection panel have included Wridhiman Saha and rookie pacer Abhimanyu Mithun for a series which is being touted as World Championship of Test cricket. For a battle which is being projected as the cricketing battle of the year that will reincarnate interest in Tests, I think that the decision could have been looked into a bit more deeply.

To name a player, who has not even played ten first class matches of the domestic circuit, as the new Indian hope against the Proteans... Isn’t it being too hopeful? It smelt audacity of huge proportions but the selectors did it. I felt the same when Barack Obama was chosen for Nobel Peace Prize.

I am sure an average Indian cricket fan would be feeling the same too. And he/she has every right to! For a man who until two years ago was not even thought fit for a state team selection is India’s most searched boy on internet today without actually playing and practicing with the best in the game. He is touted as the next big thing, a raw pace which selectors were in search for.

But that again throws some serious questions on India’s handling of pacers. A close look and one will remember that bowlers with immense potential and have occasionally come on the international scene and gradually faded away. Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, L Balaji, Sreesanth, Pankaj Singh, Ashish Nehra and now Ishant Sharma have had their share of success but are now a spent force.

Sometime back, this mighty nation basking in the glory of rise to numero uno Test spot, was livid with Australian great Ian Chappell. The outspoken Australian had said, “When I look at the averages and the strike-rates for India in the last 12 months, I don’t see two champion bowlers. In fact, I am struggling to find one champion bowler in that line-up. They’ve got some good bowlers. Sure, they have got a very good batting line-up, but the bowling is really not good enough to see them win consistently all around the world.”

Indeed some serious questions by Chappell. And looking at the new selection, it is obvious that Kris Srikkanth led panel is aware of the situation and that has reflected in Abhimanyu Mithun’s selection. This in no way is written to suggest or doubt the youngster’s potential as it would be grossly unfair to write him off without even allowing him a chance to test the waters.

Fact of the matter is, Zaheer Khan is only bowler who finds a straight entry into playing eleven and his workload will definitely take a toll. Injuries are not new to him, it’s just the question of time before he breaks down. And you don’t need an astrologer to predict that.

Mithun is a son of fitness trainer (that’s what my research indicates) and his father owns a gym. It’s heartening too see cricket has widened its scope and opened arms for the deserving and is now embracing heroes, who are not just born with silver spoons.

The youngster will have to guard against all that which comes with success and fame. Success sometimes can be more intoxicating that most spirits/drugs and when that happens, the downfall lurks behind the corner.

Moving on, the rich and influential men of Board of Cricket Control in India would have to look into a policy which nurtures and protects fast bowlers. In an exclusive interview to <b></b>, former Indian captain Kapil Dev had echoed a similar need for an academy and system which works on the issues of speedsters.

The only one that we have in India is the MRF Pace academy which has churned out some exciting prospects, but in a large nation like India, one is too little.

However, like Obama, Mithun’s selection seems to be more for the promise rather than an achievement, and is bound to draw both praise and skepticism.

First Published: Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 00:25

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