"Not competing with Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya or anyone else" - Atit Sheth

Atit Sheth could be the next seam-bowling all-rounder India are looking for
Atit Sheth could be the next seam-bowling all-rounder India are looking for

Atit Sheth's performances in domestic cricket for Baroda and for West Zone in the recently-concluded Duleep Trophy have forced many fans to take notice of a potential quality seam-bowling all-rounder.

There has been a lot of talk about how Team India have been unable to find a seam-bowling all-rounder after Hardik Pandya. They continue to back Shardul Thakur in overseas Tests as he provides the balance that the team needs in seaming conditions.

It is natural for any seam-bowling all-rounder in the country to constantly compare their progress with that of Pandya or Thakur. However, speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Atit Sheth explained why his focus is entirely on trying to improve his game and not comparing himself with anyone else. He said:

"I believe I am not competing with Shardul Thakur or Hardik Pandya or anyone else. I feel every player as their own set of skills and own specific role. The real competition for me is to keep on giving my best in whatever chances I get, be it in Duleep Trophy, the upcoming Deodhar Trophy, or the India A tours in future if I am selected. I just have to keep getting better in my performances."

Despite his all-round ability, Sheth has surprisingly not yet played a single IPL game and has not been picked by any team. On this, he added:

"To get selected in the IPL, I have to do well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy because that is the same format. There are trials as well. Last year I was called for trials by Sunrisers, Punjab, and Gujarat but I couldn’t go anywhere because I was on the India A tour (of Bangladesh). So the idea is to give my best in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, do well in the trials because that’s all that is in my control."

Team India's next Test assignment will be towards the end of 2023 away to South Africa. Once again, the seam-bowling all-rounder's role will be crucial and they could look at Atit Sheth as a possible understudy to Thakur. On this, Sheth opined:

"If my name comes in the Irani Trophy, I have to perform well. India A may also tour South Africa in January so the goal would be to do well there as well. I have done one tour so far and if I get a chance in another tour then it will help me get accustomed to the conditions. The goal is to perform wherever I get a chance and then who knows what may happen."

Atit Sheth on taking advice from Baroda's star players

Baroda has already produced some quality cricketers for India like Munaf Patel and also all-rounders like Irfan Pathan and Hardik Pandya. Atit Sheth opened up on how he always tries to add to his game by having a conversation with the aforementioned cricketers whenever they're in Baroda.

On this, he stated:

"Whenever I meet Irfan bhai, Munaf bhai or Hardik, I do take advice from them on batting and bowling and what adjustments are needed to make while playing at higher levels. So whenever they are in Baroda, I do go to them to take advice and their tips help me a lot."

After an impressive performance in the Dulep Trophy, Atit Sheth could well be groomed into the seam bowling all-rounder's role for the near future in the Test format.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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