Having played a pivotal role with the ball in India U-23’s Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup triumph,young Baba Aparajith is taking the discipline seriously,and wants to become a genuine all-rounder. Insisting that he always took bowling seriously,Baba wants to shed the tag of ‘a batsman who can bowl a bit’.
I always wanted to be a good all-rounder,but my primary was batting,something people know me for. But,in this tournament things turned out well for me with the ball. I bowled a lot in the last three games. Was able to contain runs and pick wickets in the process, says Baba,who took 7 wickets in the tournament,three out of which came in the final against Pakistan.
The tournament was not a high-scoring affair as the teams found going tough on ‘slow’ and ‘low’ pitches. Bowlers,spinners in particular,enjoyed a lot of success and turned the game around for their respective sides. The highest total in the tournament was only 268,scored by India U-23 against Nepal U-23 in the group stage.
There were two grounds. Pitches on both the grounds were very slow and low. If you spin the ball well,you would get good purchase from the track. There was not much bounce,but a lot of spin.
“I just maintained my own. Normally I don’t get much turn,but was trying to get a lot of spin in this tournament. Spinners played a key role there (Singapore) since the pitches were of assisting nature,and it was hard to hit. Also,it was a different ball used in this tournament,little softer than the Kookaburra ball, informs Baba,who bowled at a tight economy rate of 3.00 in the eight-nation tournament.
He might have ended the tournament with 7 wickets against his name,but his batting didn’t make an impressive reading. With only 21 runs in four innings,the right-hander is quick to defend the dismal reading.
I batted four innings,two of which I was not-out and got run-out in one. So I actually got out in one. It was a new challenge to bat down the order. Hopefully next time when I play down the order,I will have more ideas and experience about playing at that position. For the team one should be ready to bat and contribute at any position, says Baba,who is a top order batsman.
Focus on bowling
After playing a more than handy role with the ball in India U-19’s World Cup win in 2012 and a better outing in Singapore recently,the right-hander is devoting more time to his gentle off-spinners.
I’m bowling a lot. Whenever I’m off batting,I bowl. Whenever you bowl to different batsmen,you get different ideas and improve. My mindset for this season was to develop into a genuine all-rounder. I always had the drive to become an all-rounder,but this season,while I was setting goals,I just thought that I can improve on it. I shouldn’t be seen as a batsman who can bowl a bit,but someone who can bowl a lot,both in the one-dayers and the longer formats, informs Baba.
With his India U-19 teammates enjoying a lot of opportunities post the World Cup success in 2012,the right-hander,who was impressive with 171 runs and 5 wickets,wants to ‘move on’ from the success,and is focussed on the upcoming domestic season.
Things have changed a bit,I wouldn’t say much after the World Cup. I have got recognition. For me,I don’t take much from the World Cup. I want to move on from it and perform consistently in the domestic circuit. Obviously it is a big thing to represent your country and come out as winners,but now I want to move on and do well in the Ranji Trophy. I feel if you perform well in the opportunities you get,selection takes care of itself, says Baba.