ICC WTC Final: Snubbed by IPL 2021, Abhimanyu Easwaran ready for Southampton-bound challenge

ICC WTC Final: Abhimanyu Easwaran will be part of the 24-member squad travelling to England for World Test Championship vs New Zealand. (Source: Abhimanyu Easwaran Instagram)
ICC WTC Final: Abhimanyu Easwaran will be part of the 24-member squad travelling to England for World Test Championship vs New Zealand. (Source: Abhimanyu Easwaran Instagram)

ICC WTC Final: Abhimanyu Easwaran was in his bed when he received the call-up for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand on June 18. He says it wasn’t really shocking as he was confident he will soon make the cut in the team. “I was really happy. It’s always an honour to be part of the national side. When I received a call, I quickly told my family. It was a happy moment,” the 25-year-old right-handed batsman says with sights set on the ICC WTC final.

A seasoned campaigner in the First Class and List A circuit, Abhimanyu has been a regular member of India A squad. He has amassed 2875 runs in 62 matches at a staggering average of 48.72. In FC cricket, he has 4401 runs to his name in 64 matches with an average of 43.57.

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His breakout year came in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season where he scored 861 runs at an average of 95.66. But the next season his form saw a big dip — 258 runs from 17 innings, an average of just 17.20 and a best of 62.

Abhimanyu says those were tough times but it was his team’s (Bengal) good performance that kept him motivated. “Those certainly were some tough moments. I scored well the previous season and was struggling the next. But it was just a phase. Seeing my team perform well was satisfying and kept pushing me to return to form,” the opener who also captains the Bengal team says confidently.

Abhimanyu is looking forward to the three-month-long tour. Despite being named as a standby and no surety on if he will even get a chance in the upcoming tour, he prefers to keep himself fully prepared in case an opportunity arrives. “I’ve played only white-ball cricket this season. Now, coming back to red-ball cricket, I sat down with my coach and we discussed a few things. It’s more about being disciplined while batting, which we are working on,” he says emulating his training session, “Also, I’m having my training sessions here a little early in the morning in order to make it a bit more challenging for myself and try and make it as close as possible to the conditions I may face in England. There has been some rain here for the last two-three days which does have an effect on the conditions,” he says.

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This will not be Dehradun-born batter’s first stint with the senior team. He was part of the reserves for India for the 2020-21 England Tests and believes it was a great learning curve in his career. He says he wants to experience the expertise of Indian stalwarts from close quarters during his time in the UK. “I was in the squad, in the reserves for the England Tests. It was a great learning curve for me, just being there and observing the senior playersI enjoyed my time there,” he says

ICC WTC Final: Snubbed by IPL 2021, Abhimanyu all set for IPL 2022

Abhimanyu aims at playing at the Indian Premier (IPL) 2021 someday and believes this tour will help him overcome his shortcomings. “It was disappointing when no one bid for me. But now two months after that, I am in the Indian team. I certainly have to learn a lot. Will play better in the domestic season and hopefully will make it into IPL 2022,” he says.

The right-hand batter is scheduled to arrive in Mumbai by May 19 to enter the bio-bubble before leaving for UK.

Team India’s Squad for WTC Finals & 5 Match Test Series vs England India’s squad:

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper) R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance). Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla