"All I wanted was to get to my hundred as quickly as possible," says a dejected Abhinav Mukund, after missing out on his second Ranji ton, in consecutive matches this season, by a run on Saturday.
He had reasons to be sad. In a scenario where his contemporaries aren't leaving an opportunity to have the selectors discuss them, a momentary lapse can take you far away from the India team.
Though India are to leave for Australia in three weeks time, the third opener's slot is yet to be revealed, and Mukund has a more important thing to worry about — his swollen jaw.
"I'm on pain-killers, and all I want is this to heal as quickly as possible," he says, wanting to stay fit to get a call.
As for competition, the Tamil Nadu youngster opts to play on the back-foot. “It's for the selectors to decide on the team,” he says. “I can only be happy for my contemporaries who are doing well.”
Only five-Tests old, Mukund's last outing in England wasn't a memorable one. But that was the case for most in the India team, except Rahul Dravid. So that's not what the 21-year-old wants to reflect on.
“People like (Sachin) Tendulkar, (Rahul) Dravid or (VVS) Laxman have seen so much that they can point out even minute flaws that might usually go unnoticed,” says Mukund.
“Every time I have been in that dressing room I have learnt so much, and come back enriched,” he adds.
The Chennai boy, who hit 204 against Haryana in the last Ranji game, knows that every “tip is going to count.” “During my brief stint with the India team, I've learnt that the difference between playing Ranji and an international match is huge,” says Mukund, whose first assignment was the away series in the Caribbean in June. “So anything I learn now is going to be vital.”