Abhimanyu Easwaran may be a Virat Kohli fan but Rahul Dravid has always been his idol. Approximately three months ago, Abhimanyu Easwaran posted a picture with Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Instagram which was captioned ‘Fanboy moment’.
When the squad was announced, Abhimanyu Easwaran was named one of the four standby players for the series, which meant that after years of playing top-notch cricket for India A, he was one step closer to realizing his dream.
Abhimanyu Easwaran Feels Great To Be Selected In The Indian Team As A Stand By As It’s A Step Closer To Dream
Although his chance never came, Abhimanyu Easwaran had spent hours in the nets, with the players he’s admired as he learned the nuances from Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Rohit Sharma while facing Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Ishant Sharma.
“Great feeling to be selected in the Indian team, be it a stand by. It’s like a step closer to my dream. Conditions are challenging in England, probably the most challenging for an opening batsman. It’s just about being prepared and waiting for my turn; if and when I get it, I’ll rightfully use it and give my best,” Abhimanyu Easwaran told Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat.
“I was with the team from the first two Tests. Watching Virat, Rohit, Pujara and Rahane, who have scored a lot of runs for the country, the biggest takeaway was their intensity during practice and how detailed they are regarding the little things before a Test match, which I had heard about but never seen it.”
Abhimanyu Easwaran’s rise to the Indian squad is the culmination of years of hard work he’s put together playing First-Class cricket for Bengal and India A. In eight seasons for Bengal, he has featured in 46 matches for Bengal, averaging 43.82 with nine centuries. Between 2014-15 and 2018-19 seasons, his averages have read 52.87, 50.44, 41.40, 50.85, and 80.78.
Abhimanyu Easwaran Was Proud To Play Under Idol Rahul Dravid For India A
“To be honest, I was proud to have seen my idol and then play under him for India A. To be able to play in different conditions under him was a great experience. Besides playing in India, I played in New Zealand a couple of times, went to the West Indies and played in England. My way of playing is similar to him because he’s been my idol,” Abhimanyu Easwaran adds.“Initially, in my First-Class career, I got a hundred and then a lot of fifties. I was getting the 60, 70s but not the hundreds. It’s cliched and easier said than done, but the key is to really stick to your plans, which you have set against a particular bowler or bowling attack… facing one ball at a time. Rahul sir reminded me of it and so many other things and that was really helpful for me. After that, I started converting fifties into hundreds and hundreds into big hundreds.”
Among the four standbys, he is the only batsman. With Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, and KL Rahul as the four first-choice openers, it may still take him time to earn his India cap. His name has been doing the rounds as the next opener– most prominently after the Test series in New Zealand last year, where India was blanked 0-2. But more than a year later, the wait continues.
“We’ve reached the World Test Championship final, and it shows that we’ve got a great team, and in all great teams, there is healthy competition. My only goal is to improve as a player and be ready if an opportunity comes my way,” he said.
KL Rahul has a century at The Oval, but his average is 29.90 during the 2018 Test series. So although Rahul Dravid feels it is India’s best chance to register a series win in the UK and may have given his verdict in favour of India, the batsman understands that the challenges which lie ahead will be tough to conquer.
“The biggest challenge playing there is that the wickets there are conducive to fast bowling. In Ranji Trophy, there are few wickets that support fast bowling but mostly they will turn. Even during the Test matches in India, the wickets are mostly spin-friendly although there is a period when swing comes into play,” Abhimanyu Easwaran said.
“But if you bat in England, the new ball actually does a lot more than it does in India. Just like it is for them to score in India, similarly it’s a challenge for our batsmen to get runs there.”
As the selectors have once again shown faith in him, he will get a chance to extend his learnings for a stiff tour of England. He played 64 first-class games averaging 43.6 with 13 tons accumulating 4401 runs.