Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, who on Friday was picked by India as a reserve batsman for the England tour, admitted that he had a wretched 2019/20 season, but asserted that he is in a much better place now. Easwaran said that he further expected to be called up as a reserve batsman.
Bengal’s Abhimanyu Easwaran burst onto the scene through a 564-run season in the 2017/18 edition of the Ranji Trophy, and he backed it up with a stunning 861-run season in 2018/19, where he averaged a remarkable 95.66. Easwaran’s consistency led to him finding a place in the India ‘A’ side and he also was subsequently named the captain of Bengal.
However, the events in the 2019/20 season went against the script as the right-hander, on the verge of potential national selection, endured a horrendous season to fall behind in the pecking order. Across 10 matches, 17.20 was all the opener averaged, striking a solitary fifty across 17 innings, and the wretched run led to many questioning his talent and ability.
A year on, Easwaran, thanks to the credits he earned in the 3 years that preceded his downfall, has still somehow managed to stay on the selectors’ radar, but the 25-year-old is confident that the bad days are behind him. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Easwaran admitted that 2019/20 did not go according to plan, but insisted that he is currently batting ‘really well’.
“It wasn't ideal, but it happens to everyone," Easwaran said of his 2019/20 season, speaking to ESPNCricinfo.
"Right now, I am batting really well. I am getting into good positions now. Importantly, I am feeling good. I feel happier about my body and my fitness, so I think I am in a good place."
On Friday, Easwaran was named in India’s squad to England as one of the reserves, and it was, in fact, his second consecutive call-up, having also served as a reserve batter in the home series against England earlier this year. The 25-year-old revealed that he learnt a lot from his experiences in the England series, and added that he enjoyed his time inside the bubble.
"I was in the squad, in the reserves, for the [2020-21] England Tests too, and that was a great learning experience for me, just being there, spending time in the dressing room, watching everyone…"
“I enjoyed my time there - how they prepare, just watching Virat Kohli's intensity at training was an education. There were things I hadn't seen before - for example, Rohit Sharma saw the pitch and focused on his sweep shot, [R] Ashwin did the same… they were so clear about their plans,” Easwaran said.
Unlike a certain Arzan Nagwaswalla, though, Easwaran asserted that he was expecting a call-up. The opener revealed that he’d even spent time prepping, by simulating English conditions back home in Dehradun (where he resides), and attested that his solitary goal, regardless of whether he plays or not, is to come back to India (from England) a better player.
"We have seven bowlers, some from the Uttarakhand team - including offspinner Gaurav Chaudhary - who have all come in after Covid-19 tests, and we have a grassy pitch here, which I am batting on. Plus, we are using some cheap balls along with the SG balls, because those swing more. I was playing a bit in Kolkata, but it was difficult to train there [because of Covid-19], so I shifted here, where I can train,” Easwaran said of the ‘England simulation’.
"We are trying whatever we can. Batting early in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at all times, five-six hours every day, and other drills too. So that I am ready. And even if I don't get chances there, I want to come back to India a better player."