Exclusive: 'Mr Consistent' Abhimanyu Easwaran hopes to make India cut soon
The Indian cricket team is pretty lucky to be enriched with a lot of batting talent. India have always prided themselves on this aspect for a lot of years. The next-gen also promises a good future for the 'Men In Blue' and among those is Abhimanyu Easwaran.
The right-handed opening batsman had a bumper 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season wherein he amassed 861 runs from six matches at an average of 95.66 with a highest score of 201*. On the 18th of July, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) rewarded his exploits with two awards, namely 'Best Cricketer of the Year' and 'Gentleman Cricketer of the Year'.
Such consistent performances at the domestic level have also ensured that Easwaran has been a regular in the India A set-up for quite a while. On the tour of New Zealand late last year, the 23-year-old chipped in with impressive knocks of 83 and 49 in the 4th and 5th match respectively of the unofficial ODI series.
With an eye on becoming an all-format batsman, the youngster has put in a lot of hard work. This paid off in rich dividends when he was named as Bengal's vice-captain for the 2019 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after being snubbed the previous year.
All these efforts have seen him rise up in the queue for the opening batsmen spots for the test team. Although Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal are expected to be the incumbents, Easwaran is not far away from India selection.
Also, when it comes to one-day cricket contention, Easwaran is ahead of the likes of Prashant Chopra, Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan by averaging 50.31 from 49 List A matches.
Sportskeeda got a chance to speak to Abhimanyu Easwaran and here are some excerpts.
How has it been for you to play for India A?
Abhimanyu Easwaran: It has been really nice. To get a chance to play for your country, that's probably the best thing that can happen to a cricketer. It has been a really nice opportunity for me and I have had good and bad times, but I have really enjoyed my time with the team and all the experiences I have gained from various overseas tours.
Can you tell about the different challenges that you faced from you faced during childhood days while playing in the local circuit when compared to playing for India A?
AE: Initially, the challenge comes when you find out that the quality is much better, it is a level above domestic cricket. We played against a few international bowlers who have been regular members of their national team who either play to prove their form or fitness. The A team level is one step below the senior team and obviously, everyone wants to play for the A team. The challenges are different, we get to play in different pitches, bowlers and conditions like England, New Zealand and now we are going to the West Indies. That is the biggest challenge.
Can you tell about your experience of how it felt while you rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names while playing for India A?
AE: It is always great to play with players who have played international cricket, you get to learn a lot from them in terms of how they go about their game, you can talk to them about how international cricket is and the challenges they are facing and the bowlers they have faced, things that have happened to them. KL Rahul was there with the team in one of the tours, now Wriddhiman Saha who has played a lot of Test cricket is here with us, we get to learn a lot from them. I think that is the biggest advantage while playing for India A.
What's been the biggest learning while playing under coach Rahul Dravid?
AE: I have learned a lot but the biggest would be when there was a phase when I was getting 60s, 70s but wasn't able to convert those into big scores, Rahul sir told me to stay in the present and that did wonders for me last year.
What are some of the technical changes that you have made to suit your style to convert those 60s and 70s into big hundreds?
AE: It wasn't a technical change, it was mostly a mental change. I talked to Rahul sir and my coaching staff about how to convert these starts. Obviously, there have also been a few technical changes to keep on improving according to the various tours, the different wickets we are playing on, against particular bowlers. I work on these things with my coach Apurva Desai and he has been really helpful.
Can you talk about a bit about your interactions with Sourav Ganguly, how did it help to improve your character or game even further?
AE: Sourav sir has always been there for us. He is right now the president of our association. So, he is there with us, he comes to our games, comes to our practice sessions at times, he talks to us. You can talk to him on the phone whenever you want, he is always available for us. It is always a boost to talk to him, he motivates us and being around him you get to learn a lot about cricket and your game. He is always positive and if you have issues about your game or anything, you can just go and talk to him. He is really helpful.
Can you tell me how important being an all-format player is, in this current era?
AE: It is really important because if you see the way Test cricket is progressing, earlier if a team scores 200-220 runs it was fine but now cricket has changed. I guess if you are an all-format player, you get more opportunities and you get more chance to grow as a cricketer. You need to work on your game. IPL is coming up, a lot of one-day games are happening now and there is more chance to be an all-format player.
What are your expectations of playing in the West Indies and have got a few inputs from the seniors? What are you looking forward to?
AE: I got some inputs regarding the wickets, conditions. I also watched the one-day games on YouTube. So I have done my preparations, let's see how it goes.
What are your plans for the future apart from playing for India?
AE: Nothing really, I just want to enjoy whatever game I am getting and just want it to give my best. Let's see how it goes.