Abhimanyu Mithun (second from left) posing with members of the Karnakata team after their victory in the Ranji Trophy 2014-15 final against Tamil Nadu.
Abhimanyu Mithun (second from left) posing with members of the Karnakata team after their victory in the Ranji Trophy 2014-15 final against Tamil Nadu.

In the ongoing Irani Cup 2015, Karnataka bowler Abhimanyu Mithun took two wickets in three balls, teaming up with the likes of R Vinay Kumar and Shreyas Gopal to dismiss Rest of India (ROI) for 264. In an exclusive interview to CricketCountry’s Sudatta Mukherjee, Mithun speaks about his interest of becoming an all-rounder and playing for India and Indian Premier League (IPL).

CricketCountry (CC): You played four Tests and five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and it has been four years since you have played for India. With your recent performance, especially over the last two years, do you see yourself in the current set-up?

Abhimanyu Mithun (AM): I know the mistakes I made in the past. Now, I feel I have improved and I am a much better player. I am waiting for my chance again to play for India.

CC: During the third Test of India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2010, Sri Lanka scored 425, and you came out at 321 for the loss of six wickets. You went on to score 46 from 77 balls. Can you take us through your match-winning partnership with Amit Mishra at P Sara Oval?

AM: That was my first tour, and when I bowled on that track I knew how it was so I thought I wanted to bat how much ever I could at that point. I could not throw away my wicket.

CC:  What about Indian Premier League (IPL)? You are playing for a new team this year — Mumbai Indians. How are you preparing for it?

AM: I am waiting for IPL to start because last year I missed playing in it. IPL is very competitive and one gets to learn a lot of things. Moreover, Mumbai has good wicket for fast bowlers. So it might be good for me to play there.

CC: Do you see yourself as a potential all-rounder?

AM: Yes, I have gained confidence from past three matches, after scoring some runs. So, I think I will concentrate and work on batting also from now on.

CC:  What has been the biggest challenge for you?

AM: Biggest challenge for me was this year because I wanted to perform and I am happy that I did. I was the highest wicket-taker in Vijay Hazare Trophy final for Karnataka and got 39 wickets in Ranji Trophy 2014-15.

CC: With back-to-back Ranji Trophy triumphs, do you think Karnataka will be the new Mumbai? Do you believe the present Karnataka side is the best ever?

AM: I feel this Karnataka team can be the new Mumbai. We can dominate for few more years because all the players are still young. Average age is around 27. Keeping that in mind, we can still have the same team for five more years.

From the year I started for state side I feel this is the best side as everyone wants to improve their game and everyone wants be a match winner so, probably yes.

CC: In the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy, there are three bowlers from Karnataka who feature in the most wicket-takers. Yet the current Indian set-up does not feature players from Karnataka, barring Stuart Binny. And Binny is yet to play a game in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. What is your view about it?

AM: In India, I feel whoever is performing at the present moment gets the attention, as well as more chances. So whoever is bowling well at that time will get chances.

CC: Vinay Kumar has been a force behind Karnataka’s victories over the last few years. He has done considerably well for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL. How has it been working with him?

AM: I have learnt lot of things from him as a player. I look up to him. Whenever, I am not doing well, I will just go speak to him and get some inputs. I feel it makes younger bowlers easier in matches with him around and his guidance.

CC: Post the 2011 India tour of England, there has has been a trend of green pitches in India. How has it helped the pacers and how have the teams changed their playing strategies?

AM: I feel it has helped pacers in putting more effort and bowling more quickly. Teams see the wickets before the match and practice on those kind of wickets, see what adjustments they can do before the matches.

CC: Do you think it has helped the batsmen prepare for the foreign tours?

AM: Yes, I do feel Indian batsmen are ready now to play in foreign tours.

CC: However, we have not seen much of bounce from such green pitches like Australia and South Africa. What is your view about it?

AM: I feel soil is different, I don’t know more as I don’t have information.

CC: It has been a quite tough schedule for cricketers today. In domestic cricket, Ranji got over, followed by the Irani Cup and in short time, the IPL. Same with the international calender, with tours of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Champions League T20, South Africa and Pakistan being arranged. How tough is it? And how does one survive the tough schedule? Should there be a mandatory breather?

AM: Seriously, in India players need to be on toes all the time. Being a bowler, we should be fit at any given moment. As a player, one should know how much his body will take the load, and manage his workout and training.

CC: You were a state-level discus thrower and then cricket entered your life. How has the change been for you?

AM: I always loved playing cricket, but in the beginning my family could not afford to send me for camp but lot of people told my father that I was good at cricket. So, my father changed his mind and put me in cricket. That’s how I started playing cricket.

(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English television show on her laptop. Her Twitter handle is @blackrosegal)