Abhinav Mukund replaced by R Samarth in the India A squad
What’s the story?
Karnataka’s opening batsman, Ravikumar Samarth, has been roped in for India A’s tour of South Africa in place of Abhinav Mukund. The 24-year-old got the surprise call-up after Mukund was retained in the national squad for the Test series against Sri Lanka, which is scheduled to begin later this month.
“It came out of the blue, to be honest. I was surprised to get that news in the afternoon. I never expected anything like that to happen because the squads were already announced. It feels great to have got this opportunity. It’s the first time I’ve been picked for India A. It’s something really special,” said the 24-year-old.
The BCCI hasn’t made an official statement about Samarth’s inclusion in the squad yet, but according to reports from Wisden India, sources at the KSCA have confirmed the news.
“I’ve no expectations. I take whatever comes my way. I just prepare well and go with a positive mindset and hope for the best,” stated the right-handed batsman, sounding delighted at the prospect of representing the national youth squad.
In case you didn’t know...
Since his debut for Karnataka in 2013, Samarth has been a dependable batsman for the team. He has scored close to 4500 first class runs, which includes five centuries and nine half-centuries. His average stands at an impressive 42.30, with a highest score of 235.
The youngster has previously played 10 matches in List A cricket, scoring 168 runs at an average of 21. The man from Mysore will definitely want to improve on those numbers on the South Africa tour.
Samarth stated that he has been scoring runs consistently in domestic cricket in the last four seasons and expected the national call-up to arrive at one point or the other.
Karun Nair, Samarth’s Karnataka teammate, broke the news on Twitter by congratulating the 24-year-old for making it to the List A squad. The two right-handed batsmen go way back to playing together since their under-13 days. Samarth also revealed that he was practicing with Nair at the KSCA when he got the news, and said that Nair was extremely happy for him.
'Congratulations Sammyyy!! Thrilled to see you one step closer to achieving your dreams. Wishing you all the success you deserve and more' pic.twitter.com/Kr5705Klsf— Karun Nair (@karun126) July 10, 2017
India A will tour South Africa for two four-day matches and an ODI series. Nair will lead the team for the four-day games, while Manish Pandey will be the skipper for the limited-overs format.
The fact that Nair is the captain will surely make it easier for the youngster to fit into the squad. Moreover, he will prosper from the experience of Rahul Dravid, who will be coaching the team for the tour.
Samarth national call-up is another example of the fact that consistent performances at the Ranji level are still enough to propel you to the next level in cricket. The man has done remarkably well for Karnataka, and he has now been rewarded for his efforts.
A string of strong performances outside Asia will make a strong case for him, and you would hope that he manages to accumulate a fair share of runs in the opportunities that come his way on the tour.