Two rewards for the same accomplishment are perhaps as unusual as two punishments for the same offence. By a queer stroke of luck, Abhimanyu Mithun finds himself in the first category.
A dream debut season in the Ranji Trophy has earned the Karnataka speedster not only a berth in the Board President’s squad to take on South Africa, it has also pushed him into the squad for the first Test against the visitors.
The decision defies logic because if Mithun - who is still an unknown commodity even in the domestic circuit - is to be unleashed against Graeme Smith’s team in the Test match, why expose him against the same set of batsmen before that game? Common sense says it would reduce the bowler’s surprise element and make him a known entity to the visiting batsmen.
Usual war plan suggests when you have a special weapon, you hide it for as long as possible before the war so that you can catch the enemy unawares. So why isn’t this strategy being followed when it comes to using Mithun? The answer is simple. He stands no chance of playing in the first Test.
“Mithun is the fourth seamer in the Test squad and, at best, we will field two — Ishnat Sharma and Zaheer Khan.
Even if one of them is ruled unfit, Sudeep Tyagi will come in as the second seamer. So, practically, Mithun has no chance of playing in the first Test,” a BCCI source told HT. “That’s why Mithun was named in the Board President’s squad, so that he gets to play the warm-up match against the South Africans in Nagpur on February 2-3. That will be just reward for him for doing well in Ranji Trophy. He’ll know how it feels to bowl against an international side. It will be good exposure for him,” said the source.
So, on the face of it, even if it seems that it’s double delight for Mithun, it’s actually one. For now, he has to make do with how it feels like playing against a foreign team. For the real thing, he has to wait.