For young batter Abhimanyu Eswaran, getting a contract for the next season of the lucrative Indian Premier League is on top of the agenda. He is leaving no stone unturned to achieve this goal.
The domestic event, Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, has provided the best opportunity for the batter to draw the attention of IPL franchise.
Donning the mantle for the Bengal team for the first time in the season, the 27-year-old batter from Dehradun has been doing exceedingly well, both as a skipper and a batter. An unbeaten run-a-ball 37 with the help of five hits to the fence against Odisha in the second match, and almost a similar knock of 38 off 36 deliveries with the help of three boundaries against defending champions Tamil Nadu are an indication of Abhimanyu’s skills.
Almost two months after the last domestic season, Eswaran was in superb touch even in his first match of the new season, hitting a sparkling century for India A against New Zealand A in an unofficial Test at Bengaluru last month. Before being bowled by Rippon, Eswaran smashed a 194-ball 132 with the help of 13 fours and a six. He, along with fellow opener and skipper Priyank Panchal, added 123 runs for the first wicket.
Eswaran’s good show with the willow continued even in the next three matches against the same side before hitting yet another unbeaten half-century against Saurashtra (63, 78b, 9×4) to help Rest of India lift the coveted Irani Cup at Rajkot.
In both the matches so far in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy here at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium, Abhimanyu planned his team’s win quite effectively, especially with the use of tactical substitutions in the game.
Bengal’s biggest success in the tournament so far has been the win against Tamil Nadu and they are in second spot with 10 points in three matches. Chhattisgarh, too, have 10 points from three encounters so far, but they are on top of the table on the basis of the net run rate (NRR).
Abhimanyu made just 10 runs in his debut first-class match for Bengal against Uttar Pradesh in 2013 at the age of just 17.
He didn’t look back then and went on scoring 5278 runs so far with 16 centuries and 23 half-centuries at an average of 43.16 in 76 first-class matches.
His best so far has been 233 against Punjab in a Ranji Trophy game in 2019 on home turf.
Even in the shorter format of the game, the right-hand opening batter impressed everyone with his run-scoring ability and has so far compiled 3182 runs in 72 matches with 149 being his best at an average of 46.79.
Though it took five years to Eswaran to make his debut in the shortest format of the game for Bengal in 2017, he has been a consistent performer, hitting 629 runs with an unbeaten 107 being his best in 23 matches so far.
In fact, it was Eswaran’s father Ranganathan Parmeshwaran Eswaran who took him to Bengal at the age of just eight for cricket training after he found the system there the best for his son.
“I travelled almost the entire country to find a conducive training system for my son, and only after a long search I found that Bengal had the best set-up for the junior cricketer,” said the father, a chartered accountant by profession.
“I could have asked him to play for Uttar Pradesh at the start of his career, but there was no basic set-up in UP or elsewhere. But in Bengal there were 200 plus age group teams in local cricket,” he added.
“Abhimanyu is now a transformed cricketer, who knows when and how to switch the playing techniques according to the situation,” Abhimanyu’s long-time mentor Ganesh Sharma said on Monday.
“His ability to cope with the situation has been tremendous I have seen him grow in the game since his childhood, and he is a batter of a different quality, who knows how to adjust his shots in innings cricket as well as in the shorter version of the game,” said Sharma.
“I am sure that Eswaran would be quite impressive in IPL too if gets the chance in the next season. A fine batter, fielder, and now a game-planner too, Eswaran has all the qualities to fit into a system.”