One of the problems for most of the emerging quick bowlers in India is the lack of a proper fitness regime. The rise of many quickies is similar to the story of Iqbal — the Hindi film character who keeps on bowling at three sticks on a hard surface without proper shoes and lack of know-how about how to maintain his body.
Abhimanyu Mithun’s case is the complete opposite. The lanky Bangalore bowler, who made his debut here on Sunday, was the pick of the bowlers on the first day. Though he was unlucky not to have gotten a rich haul, he did open his account with Tillakaratne Dilshan’s wicket.
What makes Mithun stand out is his stint as an athlete during his teenage years. The 20-year-old was a state-level discus thrower in Karnataka before realising his talent as a fast bowler. What’s even more important is the support he has received from his father.
“One of the main things is his father himself is a trainer, so he’s into gym from a very young age and he has been absolutely fit,” Karnataka coach Sanath Kumar said from Bangalore on Monday.
Kumar also stressed that Mithun wasn’t nervous at all about his Test debut.
“He called and talked to me before the match,” Kumar said. “Even yesterday he called. I just told him ‘you have to bowl a little more up’. He has been bowling a little on the short-of-length side. Of late, he has been continuously playing one-day games. One-day length, four-day length and five-day length has to be different. That’s what I told him. Also I asked him to bowl round the stumps to left-handers to make them play more.”
Mithun carried on from his 11-wicket haul on his first-class debut last November to emerge as the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy last season. But neither that feat nor an IPL outing for Royal Challengers Bangalore has resulted in the youngster taking his feet off the ground. “He is an extremely hard-working boy and he has a brilliant work ethic. He’s absolutely down to earth and nothing has spoilt him so far,” Kumar said. “He knows his limitations and works hard towards overcoming it. He knows that cricket is everything for him. He knows that whatever he is, it is because of cricket.”
All that’s left now is for Mithun to translate even a fraction of his domestic success into international achievements.