"In the chances I got with the Indian team, I fared decently," Abhinav Mukund tells Sportskeeda
When the Indian selectors announced the Test squad for the Sri Lanka series, only one name that toured Sri Lanka a couple of months ago was left out of the team. In spite of scoring a valiant 82 in the second innings of the first Test at Galle, opener Abhinav Mukund finds himself out of India's 16-member squad to take on the Lankans in a three-match series that begins at the Eden Gardens on November 16.
Abhinav was the third-choice opener during India's tour of Sri Lanka and got the nod in the first Test after the first-choice opener and his Tamil Nadu teammate Murali Vijay pulled out of the series due to a wrist injury and the second-choice opener KL Rahul was ill at the time of the Test.
In spite of doing well at Galle, Abhinav was overlooked as the Indian team management decided to go with Shikhar Dhawan, who scored a quick-fire century in Galle, and Rahul for the last two Tests. After a good start to the 2017-18 season, one would have expected Abhinav to be in the Indian squad for the home series and the subsequent South Africa tour. Unfortunately, the TN skipper was not included in the squad that has Vijay coming back to take his place at the top of the order.
When Sportskeeda contacted the left-hander for a candid chat a couple of days before the squad announcement, he was diplomatic when he was asked about his selection ahead of the upcoming Test series.
"First of all, selections are not in my hand. I think I started this season well and in the chances I got with the Indian team, I fared decently. I don't want to comment on selection or anything. I just want to go there doing what I can do rather than thinking about other things," Mukund said in an exclusive interview to Sportskeeda.
Abhinav has been a prolific run scorer in the Indian domestic circuit for almost a decade and has scored 8839 runs in 124 first-class matches at an average of 48.30 since making his debut in 2007. He got a chance to make his debut for the Indian team against West Indies in 2011. Mukund is rather unlucky to have played just seven test matches so far in which he has amassed 320 runs with two fifties.
After his exclusion from the Indian team, Abhinav will look to prove a point by piling a lot of runs in the ongoing Ranji Trophy and take his team to their first title in almost three decades. He is currently leading Tamil Nadu in their must-win game against Mumbai at the Bandra Kurla complex in Mumbai.
The Tamil Nadu squad features the likes of Murali Vijay, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Vijay Shankar and Baba Inderjith while Mumbai have their own superstars in Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Aditya Tare, Dhawal Kulkarni and Abhishek Nayar.
It is really unfortunate for someone like Abhinav who is constantly overlooked by the Indian selectors in spite of doing well in the Indian domestic circuit. Having said that, Dhawan made a huge statement when he returned to the Indian Test squad in Sri Lanka and made sure that it is impossible to drop him from the side.
*Full interview will be out soon.