March 26, 2017 5:26:58 pm
Having come out of a bad patch which had seen him being dropped from the Tamil Nadu Ranji team, Baba Aparajith is now focussed at the task of leading India in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup which begins on Monday in two venues in Bangladesh. The right-handed batsman had a poor Ranji Trophy outing, scoring 153 run from 11 innings, and was dropped from the team, in the process enduring an uncertain period. The Syed Musthaq Ali T20 Zonal phase was not good either though he had a half-century to show. He sort of redeemed himself in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which Tamil Nadu won, scoring 282 runs including two 50-plus scores.
Happy to have been named skipper of the national Under-23 squad, Aparajith said he’s eager to build on the gains from the Vijay Hazare Trophy and also lead by example at the ACC Emerging Teams Cup where India take on Sri Lanka U-23 at Chittagong on Monday. “I was doing things exactly the same way as I was when things were falling into place. Somehow the runs weren’t coming. But deep inside, I knew that it was only a matter of time before the runs would flow again and all I had to do was to keep following my routine,” Aparajith said about the mid-season slump.
“Now I am focussed to this tournament (ACC Emerging Teams Cup). It is a good challenge apart from being an honour. I am not new to the role of captain (he led VB Thiruvallur Veerans in the inaugural TNPL last year) but have not done it for an Indian squad. Being captain can add to one’s game,” the 22-year-old told PTI.
Aparajith, who was part of the Indian team that won the under-19 World Cup in 2012, said getting runs and wickets in Bangladesh would boost confidence ahead of the forthcoming IPL (in which he is part of the Pune franchise). The change of format from the Ranji Trophy to the shorter ones did work as he played more confidently in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. “I knew I could do better. I approached my personal coach (Balaji), who is always a great support and the team (India Cements) coach J R Madanagopal. They told me to stick to my work ethic and success would follow.” He’s also happy to see state-mate Aswin Crist gain selection in the team for the tournament in Bangladesh.
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