CHENNAI: It’s been two good days for Abhinav Mukund in Vadodara. After reaching the milestone of 10,000 first-class runs on Tuesday against Baroda, the left-handed opener topped it off with his seventh double century to help Tamil Nadu declare at 490/7 with a 316-run lead. At stumps, Baroda were 10/0, trailing by 306 runs. Placed 14th in the combined table of Groups A and B, a win will keep alive Tamil Nadu’s thin hopes of qualifying for the Ranji Trophy knockouts.
“At the end of the day, these are just numbers,” said Abhinav from Vadodara. “I never played for milestones. I’m lucky to play one season of Ranji Trophy now. It’s been a long journey. Good to get a double hundred after quite some time,” said the player who completed 100 Ranji matches in the previous round. The journey Abhinav refers to started in 2007 when he made his debut against Sri Lanka Cricket Invitation XI in the now-defunct MJ Gopalan Trophy. A keen reader, who also likes to write, he has learned a thing or two about self-care. Since getting dropped from the Test side in 2017, he has scored consistently in domestic cricket. In the last two editions of Vijay Hazare Trophy, he had scored 560 and 600 runs, respectively. The 2018-19 Ranji season saw him finish the second highest-scorer for Tamil Nadu with 622 runs.
For a player who scores in a bulk, the next question more often than not is what next. The Abhinav of the past would have been talking about making an international comeback. But the Abhinav of present is different. “It’s been a good journey, scoring all over the country and meeting new people. The good thing is I have always tried to put a smile on my face whether I have done well or not. Love for the game keeps me going. I don’t want to look too far ahead.”
A part of this mental shift can be attributed to the type of books he reads. He is no more into fictions and has moved to autobiographies “to get the insight of what that person is thinking” and if that benefits him in any way.“I have enjoyed the process. I genuinely don’t have regrets about not doing well here or there. I have always tried to look at it objectively. The good thing is when I look back, I actually have enjoyed the process.” With regards to Ranji Trophy, his 206 and contributions from Dinesh Karthik (49) and M Mohammed (54 not out) put TN in a comfortable position to go for an outright win.
Brief scores (Day 2)
Group A: In Patiala: Andhra 97 & 134 (Bhui 61, Sasikanth 47; Vinay 6/46, Markande 4/46) lost to Punjab 108 & 129/6 (Malhotra 51 n.o; Ashish 3/50). Pts: Andhra 0, Punjab 6.
In Nagpur: Vidarbha 326 (Nalkande 66 n.o; Nidheesh 5/82, Basil 3/54) vs Kerala 190/3 (Azharuddeen 81).
Group B: In Vadodara: Baroda 174& 10/0 vs TN 490/7 decl (Abhinav 206, Suryapprakash 75, Mohammed 54 n.o, Karthik 49).
In Shivamogga: Karnataka 426 (Samarth 108, Gowtham 82, Gopal 50; Ravi 3/61, Kartikeya 3/99) vs MP 60/2.
Group C: In Pune: Odisha 293 (Dhuper 110 n.o; Palkar 4/81) vs Maharashtra 219/2 (Gaikwad 110 n.o, Bawane 80 n.o).
Plate: In Kolkata: Pondicherry 490 (Ahmed 233, Udeshi 57 n.o) bt Manipur 138 (Udeshi 5/42, Ahmed 3/17) & 111 (Prathiban 5/64). Pts: Manipur 0, Pondicherry 7.