Dean Jones was fantastic in teaching me new tricks: Abhinav Mukund
India and Tamil Nadu opener, Abhinav Mukund opens up on his commentating stint during the 2018 IPL, on him being tagged as a long-format specialist, on addressing a few technical issues of his batting with fellow commentator and Aussie legend Dean Jones and more in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
Why did you choose to commentate in IPL 2018?
There were various factors. I wanted to be a part of the game. I wanted to be involved with the game. There are some modern greats in the IPL like AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and it was a great opportunity for me to see them in close quarters. As a commentator, it was a new experience. I could share my insights with them. I could see their insights and for me, it was a great learning experience because I could take those insights and use them for my own game. I felt the merits of it were huge and hopefully in the upcoming season, I could use it in my own game.
What was the reaction from fans and the cricketing fraternity?
I enjoy the longer format of the game and I see it as a great challenge. I relish playing for India and playing for Tamil Nadu and obviously, the reactions have been really positive for me. Sitting in the commentary box, a lot of people didn’t see this side of me – the lighter side of me or even the more intelligent side of me. I could share my insights on air and tell how I could predict what would happen in the game. It was really enjoyable. But my focus, first and foremost, is to play the game. Believe it or not, I'm 28 years old and been around in the circuit for a very long time and touch-wood, do not plan to retire any time soon.
You have been tagged as a Test-specialist. Your take on it?
Yes, I have been known to be technically correct but I feel it is a little unfair for me to be branded as a one format player. I can’t do anything about what people criticise me for or what people think or say about me, all I can do is perform well in the shorter formats. I think my numbers speak for themselves. I don’t want to talk about it further, I just want to say that I want to constantly be on the learning curve and improve on my own game and hopefully be a part of bigger tournaments like the IPL next year. But I need to focus on my own game now and focus on the upcoming tournaments.
What are the key takeaways for cricketer Abhinav from expert Abhinav?
As a commentator, I think what really appeals to me is that I had to notice the game in close quarters, and I had to talk sense and be witty as well. I really enjoyed it as it was a new challenge, a new experience and I had the opportunity to interact with other commentators in other languages, some of them current players and some of them ex-players. One of these commentators who I got to interact with was Dean Jones and I think his insights were fantastic. I had a couple of technical issues I wanted to sort out and he was graceful enough to accommodate me in his busy schedule and I really enjoyed my time with him. He was fantastic in teaching me some new tricks and I don’t know where else you would get to interact with players like Dean Jones, Scott Styris etc.
What’s the road ahead for you?
I think moving forward, I know a lot of people have criticised me for taking up commentary so early. A lot of people have given me positive reviews also by saying that they really enjoyed my commentary and liked my insights in the game. Criticism comes as a part of the job and I understand it but my focus first and foremost is playing well in the upcoming tournaments, like the Ranji Trophy which is a very important tournament for me. I am also looking to put my hat in for the Australia series probably, which is later in the year. But, I think the TNPL, which is starting really soon will be my first tournament. I really hope that all these insights and these learnings will transfer into my game and make me a better cricketer.