Abhinav Mukund has revealed that the senior players and support staff of the team have helped make his stint with the Indian team comfortable and that has helped his game. The 27-year old also expressed his disappointment at missing out on his maiden Test century after being dismissed for 81.
Abhinav Mukund was included in the playing XI after KL Rahul, who was the first choice opener, fell sick just a day before the match. However, the Tamil Nadu cricketer failed to latch on to the opportunity in the first innings and was dismissed for 12.
Mukund revealed that the senior players and support staff never made him feel like an outsider in the team, which helped him improve his game.
"The support staff and senior players have made my stay comfortable. People who are coming into the squad feel really comfortable hanging out with players like Kohli and Jadeja. I think the culture is as such where people want to perform and raise their standards. We are constantly talking about how we are number one and we can raise our game. When you start to be a part of the number one side you have to raise your game," Mukund said in a post-match presser.
Although Mukund was dismissed for a paltry score of 12, the 27-year old made up for it on the field, effecting the run-out of a set Upul Tharanga and then taking a brilliant catch to send Niroshan Dickwella packing. Mukund revealed that his splendid display in the field helped with the bat too as the 27-year old went on to score 81 in his second innings.
"The catch and the run out gave me a lot of confidence. I have worked really hard in the off-season. So I wanted to improve on my close in-fielding and batting. I was disappointed that it didn't come off in the first innings. Sometimes how much ever you work hard in the nets, you get out. It's fine I came back stronger had a decent day but was disappointed to get out on 81 and not reach the three figures. But I am happy to be out in the middle playing for India."
However, Mukund is still not assured of opening the innings for India in the second Test now that KL Rahul has recovered from fever and Shikhar Dhawan has made the spot his own, with his explosive 190 in the first innings of the Test. However, the 27-year old isn't focusing on that aspect and wants to
"When I have the opportunity to do well in this Test, I am focusing on that and not thinking ahead. Being the first choice or the second choice doesn't make a difference. What matters is taking the opportunity and scoring runs."
The Sri Lankan spinners gave the Indian batsmen a run for their money at the end of day three when the ball began to grip on the pitch making it turn and bounce substantially. Mukund gave a preview for things to come suggesting Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will get enough turn to perturb the Sri Lankan batsmen on day 4.
"When the ball gets old I thought there was assistance for Dilruwan Perera. There was a bit of turn towards the end of the day. There were a couple of others which skidded as well. But I think Ashwin and Jadeja will get more assistance than day 2. There will be a lot more discussion," Mukund concluded.