Why Easwaran Merits Selection as Standby in India’s WTC Squad
The youngster was also a part of India’s reserve pool in the home Tests against England earlier this year.
The captain of Bengal and a regular feature in the India ‘A’ team, Abhimanyu Easwaran has carved a niche for himself as a technically sound batsman who can navigate ever so seamlessly between formats.
The sheer bulk of runs under his belt over the past few seasons has bore fruit as Easwaran finds his name in India’s standby list for the World Test Championship title clash and the England Tests alongside the pace triumvirate of Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Arzan Nagwaswalla.
Easwaran was part of India’s reserve pool in the home Tests against England, a reward for his run-spree in the 2018-19 edition of the Ranji Trophy, wherein he aggregated a bumper 861 runs in six matches at a scintillating average of 95.67.
The stocky right-hander carried his rich vein of form into the Duleep Trophy as his concrete 153 in the finals paved the way for India Red’s march to the title. However, Easwaran was far from his best in the 2019-20 season, falling short of the 300-run mark.
Despite his barren run with the bat, he clicked as a captain for Bengal, marshalling his troops to the grand finale of the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought sporting activities in India to a standstill and a majority of players, especially those in the domestic circuit, haven’t had a lot of miles in their legs. They are short on practice and quality game-time.
But Easwaran has the edge over his underprepared counterparts as he gets to hone his craft at his own state-of-the-art facility, Abhimanyu Cricket Academy, in the foothills of Dehradun.
Easwaran had nothing but admiration for the work ethic of some of the senior Indian pros, having rubbed shoulders with them earlier this year.
“We had only heard about it. We got to know how Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara practice. They are very specific. They just do what they would be doing in the match. And when you actually see them do the same thing the next day, it feels great,’’ Easwaran told Sportstar.
The gritty opener feels that the UK assignment is a golden opportunity to learn from the best in the business and thereby, polish himself as a batsman, while also maintaining that he looks forward to doing well if presented with a chance.
“If I can improve as a player in that tour, that will be good. And if I get an opportunity, I will make the most of it,” Easwaran said confidently.
With Shaw out of the reckoning, Mayank Agarwal, Easwaran and KL Rahul are India’s back-up opening options just in case either of the established duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill pulls a hamstring and has to be confined to the bench.
Rahul recently underwent surgery to treat acute appendicitis and his participation is subject to fitness clearance.
The iconic Border-Gavaskar Trophy has made it crystal clear that the services of any player can be called upon at any point in time and hence, those on the fringes should be ready to perform without prior notice.
Easwaran’s watertight defence and the resilience against the swinging ball, a well-documented bugbear of Indian batsmen, can be banked upon if and when the demand arises on the green pastures of England.
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