Twenty20 vision needs correction
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It was a predicament not too alien to him. After all this wasn't the first time Abhimanyu Mithun had received a call from the national selectors to hastily join the Indian team as a replacement for statemate R Vinay Kumar in India's T20 squad against England. But this particular summon must have taken even the lanky 23-year-old Karnataka pacer by surprise. T20 cricket after all has never quite been his forte.
A record of six wickets at 72.50 apiece in 15 IPL matches and an economy rate of 9.88 is testament to that. His true calling instead has been the longer format, which he proved while bending his back relentlessly on the placid tracks in Sri Lanka back during India's tour to the Emerald Isle in 2010. But Mithun's never quite gotten a long run in his preferred format for India-his last outing for India came in the Caribbean 18 months ago and he was part of the squad in Australia. Even he wouldn't have expected a recall to national colours via the T20 format.
Mithun will be only one of two pacers, the other being Ashoke Dinda, with international experience for Team India as they look for redemption in the shortest format after the harrowing 2-1 series defeat against England. Apart from the Royal Challengers Bangalore right-arm pacer, India's other pacers at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, which will host its first-ever international match on Thursday, and the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday will be Dinda and Parvinder Awana.
The duo fresh from having warmed the bench in Nagpur earlier in the week during the drawn fourth Test would still be odds-on favourite to lead India's attack in the first of the two T20 internationals.
Mithun's selection though is only a strong indication of the present plight of fast bowling resources-riddled by injuries and loss of form-in the country. Exemplified of course by spearhead Zaheer Khan's drastic loss of form and Ishant Sharma's repeated struggles in the limited-overs format.
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