Bengal and India A opener Abhimanyu Eashwaran is ready to fly off to England next month after being named as one of the standby players in India’s squad for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final and the Test series against England.
Easwaran was in the Indian squad as a standby earlier this year, too, during the home Test series against the Englishmen. He got the opportunity to observe and share nets with the greats of the game like Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma.
“Great feeling to be selected in the Indian team, be it a stand by. It’s like a step closer to my dream. Conditions are challenging in England, probably the most challenging for an opening batsman. I feel it’s a great opportunity for me to learn from other players and see what’s going on. It’s just about being prepared and waiting for my turn; if and when I get it, I’ll rightfully use it and give my best,” Easwaran told Hindustan Times in an interview.
“I was with the team from the first two Tests. Watching Virat, Rohit, Pujara and Rahane, who have scored a lot of runs for the country, the biggest takeaway was their intensity during practice and how detailed they are regarding the little things before a Test match, which I had heard about but never seen it,” he added.
The 25-year-old has been a consistent performer for both Bengal and India A in First-Class cricket. The Dehradun-born averages 43.82 for his state in the 46 matches he has featured in whereas his record for India A has been equally prolific, having racked up 861 runs in 14 games with two centuries and 13 fifties.
Former India A coach, Rahul Dravid played a colossal role in the progress of the young cricketers, including Easwaran. The young batsman stated that Dravid has always been his idol, and learning from him was equally pleasant in his journey.
“To be honest, I was proud to have seen my idol and then play under him for India A. To be able to play in different conditions under him was a great experience. Besides playing in India, I played in New Zealand a couple of times, went to the West Indies and played in England. Because he’s scored a lot of runs everywhere, he shared so many experiences with us, regarding not only the conditions but also about what he or other players did to get runs there. He’s always been very interactive. My way of playing is similar to him because he’s been my idol,” asserted Easwaran.
“Initially, in my First-Class career, I got a hundred and then a lot of fifties – about 10 half-centuries or something. It was something I wanted to work on Apurva Desai and I had a word about it with Rahul sir too. In the Ranji Trophy and whatever tours I was on for India A, I was getting the 60, 70s but not the hundreds. It’s cliched and easier said than done, but the key is to really stick to your plans, which you have set against a particular bowler or bowling attack… facing one ball at a time. Rahul sir reminded me of it and so many other things and that was really helpful for me. After that, I started converting fifties into hundreds and hundreds into big hundreds,” concluded Easwaran.
Being in the stand-bys is no small achievement in Indian cricket, and the young bloke would be content to find himself the place. Although it is highly unlikely, but it will be exciting to see if Easwaran gets a chance in the team for the upcoming tour.