Father's advice serves Mukund well in Caribbean
Indian cricketer Abhinav Mukund lifts his bat after scoring half century © AFP
India opener Abhinav Mukund said a piece of sage advice from his father and his ability to cope with short-pitched bowling have helped him on the current trip to the Caribbean.
The left-hander scored 62 to help India to 308 for six at stumps on day three of the third Test against the West Indies on Friday at Windsor Park, giving them a first innings lead so far of 104.
Mukund, playing in only his third Test, was relieved to pass 50 for the first time.
"I have played a lot on matting pitches while I was growing up," he said. "My dad always told me that a lot of deliveries in international cricket are short-pitched, so I practiced this a lot, and can play short bowling pretty well."
Mukund said he still found it difficult to adapt to the pitches in the first two Tests in Jamaica and Barbados, where the fast bowlers gained appreciable bounce and movement.
He noted it had been even more difficult, since there were no practice matches, and he only arrived in the Caribbean a few days before the series opened.
"The first two tracks had a lot of bounce," he said. "This one, frankly, looked like an Indian pitch to me.
"But still, planting your feet and playing forward took a lot of effort. But then I started trusting the pitch more, and could go forward a lot more than in Barbados."
Mukund was obviously disappointed that he could not convert his half century into a hundred.
"I am really disappointed," he said. "After doing all the hard work when the ball was swinging in the morning, I tried to stick around, and then got out to a ball I have not have got out to many times in my career."
Mukund tried to flick a delivery from leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, but the ball took an inside edge, flew onto his thigh pad, and floated into the hands of a gleeful Adrian Barath at short leg.
The 21 year-old also showed sympathy for teammates Murali Vijay and V.V.S. Laxman.
Vijay's poor form with the bat continued as he was dismissed for five, while Laxman failed to convert a half century into a hundred for the third time in the series.
"It's disappointing that (Vijay's) been struggling a little bit. We are good friends off the field, and knowing him, he doesn't allow much to affect him. It's amazing how cricketers can go through ups and downs."
"(Laxman) was very disappointed. He has now hit three half centuries in a row. I haven't seen that kind of dismissal, and a lot of us even thought it was illegal."
Laxman was stumped by Carlton Baugh Jr off Shivnarine Chanderpaul when he absentmindedly failed to keep his back-foot grounded after leaving alone an innocuous delivery.
Mukund now feels India should be able to win the game from their current position, especially with the West Indies attack, minus the ill Ravi Rampaul, appearing sapped.
"We are leading by 104 runs, which actually is 150 to 160 runs because of the (heavy) outfield," he said.
"We hope the pitch is roughing up and weather permitting, and the ball turning more, we should enforce a win over the next two days."
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