Opener Abhinav Mukund has made a good impression in his debut Test series in West Indies that has underlined the fact that arriving as an unknown quantity in international cricket is not always a bad thing.
The 21-year-old left-hander struck his maiden Test fifty on the third day of the
final Test with a patient 62 on a pitch that rewarded batsmen who were willing to graft, which VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina and skipper MS Dhoni demonstrated with half-centuries to put India in control on Thursday.
Indian cricketer Abhinav Mukund plays a shot off West Indies bowler Fidel Edwards during the third day of their third and final Test match at the Windsor Park Stadium in Roseau, Dominica.
Mukund has already built a reputation of playing long innings in his first-class career that includes a century on his Ranji Trophy debut for Tamil Nadu, and a triple hundred against Maharastra in the event.
On Thursday, the youngster was disappointed he could not convert the hard work into a maiden Test ton but revealed how switching to playing back and across to tackle pace on bouncy pitches in Kingston and Barbados had helped him.
Mukund had not made a name for himself in ODIs or the IPL. But he played his early cricket on matting pitches that demanded a good backfoot game due the extra bounce. He has also benefited from taking in his father's advice that he will have to face a lot of short-pitched deliveries in international level. On flatter Indian pitches, batsmen can play more freely with minimum footwork, and mostly off the front foot. Both opener Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli have had major problems making the adjustment in the Caribbean.
"I am disappointed, after all the hard work as the ball was swinging in the morning. I got out to a ball that I would normally not get out," he said, referring to his backfoot shot against leggie Devendra Bishoo that popped up to short leg.
"This will give me a lot of confidence going into the England series. I will focus on the same things I have been doing here," he said. "I want to enjoy every single innings."
Mukund could next be opening with Gautam Gambhir in the first Test at Lord's as Virender Sehwag continues his race to be fit for the second Test. "I never felt a lack of numbers, having scored centuries on my Ranji and Challenger Trophy debuts. I just want to enjoy every single innings."