Rahul Dravid knows a thing or two about fast bowlers and their craft. So, when he speaks highly of someone from that tribe, he must be a special talent.
Interestingly, Abhimanyu Mithun, who has impressed him, is not even a year old in first-class cricket. Hailing from Bangalore, the tall and sturdy youngster has run through sides in his debut season — he’s the second highest wicket-taker (38), just one wicket behind Karnataka teammate Vinay Kumar.
More than the wickets, it’s the raw pace and bounce he generates even on benign surfaces that has brought him into the limelight. “He generates some serious pace and is really good. If he keeps working and improving, he has a great future ahead,” said Dravid.
Mithun, all of 20, hadn’t held a cricket ball till he was 17. Cricket figured nowhere in his scheme of things, and all he did was play some tennis ball matches, where he considered himself more of a batsman than a bowler.
“Some well wishers, impressed with my pace with the tennis ball, pushed me to try my hand at serious cricket,” said Mithun. There was no looking back. Soon, he was in the u-19 Karnataka squad, and then in the u-22 side. The Ranji break, too, came soon. “I bowled to Dravid in a practice match and he was impressed with my pace and got me into the side,” he said.
To his surprise, the youngster ended with an 11-wicket haul, including a hattrick, in his debut match against UP. “I was pleasantly surprised with my showing. But the performance convinced me that I could do well. This gave a huge boost to my confidence,” said Mithun.
The youngster attributes the ability to generate pace and bounce to his strong frame. “My father is a gym instructor and I was into exercise and weight training pretty early and have represented the state in discuss throw,” he said.
Though pleased with the success and appreciation he has received, the youngster is nervous as well. “All this has happened so quickly that I am a bit taken aback. But now I am geared up to give it my all to the game and hope things continue to go my way,” he told Hindustan Times from Mysore on the eve of the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai.