CHENNAI: At his free-flowing best, Tamil Nadu batsman Baba Indrajith is exquisite to watch. More often than not, he gently caresses the ball to the boundary and makes run-scoring look effortless. He is also a gun slip fielder. His leg-spin, although a rare sighting for a few years now, can be a useful tool when his right shoulder permits. While these are things we knew, the 27-year-old is now also taking an active interest in keeping wickets.
During the course of the ongoing Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), Indrajith has been donning the gloves for the Nellai Royal Kings, a side captained by his twin brother Baba Aparajith. It is a job that Indrajith has fleetingly done both at the senior and junior level, but it was during the lockdown last year that he decided to start working on his skills behind the stumps too. The rationale for taking up the gloves, Indrajith says, is to add more dimensions to his game and make himself a more all-round option.
“I have been wanting to keep for some time now. When the team for TNPL was assembled, the plan was for me to keep wickets. I have occasionally kept for TN in both Ranji Trophy and List A cricket. I wanted to add another dimension to my skills. I want to provide an all-round option to teams that I play for,” he tells The New Indian Express.
The desire to keep wickets is probably a result of the fact that Indrajith has not been able to contribute with the ball in recent years. Issues with his shoulder have severely restricted his bowling and also had an impact on his throwing from the outfield. Having undergone shoulder surgery a couple of years back, Indrajith notes that the problem with throwing is a thing of the past. Encouragingly, he has not given up on his leg-spin either.
“It’s not that I have no plans of bowling at all from hereon. My throwing has got back to what it was. I have no problems. For me to start bowling again will take time. The shoulder is much, much better,” informs Indrajith.
The evidence of that will be seen when what promises to be a taxing domestic season resumes. With all three formats slotted into the domestic calendar once again after the cancellation of the Ranji Trophy last season, a potentially decisive campaign awaits Indrajith. After the 2018-19 season, where Indrajith was the top run-getter for Tamil Nadu and crucially scored runs in the Duleep Trophy for two consecutive years, the middle-order batsman seemed primed for an India A call-up. It didn’t come and the surgery on his shoulder meant that the following season was severely curtailed for the elegant stroke-maker. It did leave Indrajith disappointed and now he will have to start from scratch all over again.
“I definitely felt bad that Ranji Trophy was not held last season. In both Ranji and Duleep Trophy, I had done well. I have a century and double century to my name in Duleep Trophy. I was waiting for an opportunity at a higher level. I thought I will be picked for India A, but it didn’t happen. The only way to be picked for India A is to do well in Ranji Trophy. Because it has been two years now, you again have to start from scratch. People tend to forget things when you are not part of the set-up,” Indrajith rues.
If the schedule pans out as planned, Indrajith will be hoping for plenty of eye-catching runs from his blade. And you never know, you might get to see him don the gloves for Tamil Nadu too.