Last October, Baba Indrajith was shocked when he was not selected for the Tamil Nadu squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. Disheartened, Indrajith called Mayank Agarwal’s longtime coach RX Murali and expressed his desire to improve his white ball game.
A few weeks of training with Murali did wonders for Indrajith.
He smashed 325 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, including four half-centuries. Tamil Nadu sadly lost in the final to Himachal Pradesh but Indrajith had made his statement. A good show at Vijay Hazare helped him get noticed by Indian Premier League (IPL) scouts, and he was called up by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a tryout.
The Kolkata-based franchise picked it up for Rs 20 lakh during the IPL mega auction. Subsequently, the 27-year-old set the Ranji Trophy on fire, scoring three centuries in as many innings.
“Missing Syed Mushtaq Ali’s team really affected me. I started to work even harder. I took the opportunity to equip myself and improve myself. I moved my base to Bangalore; I had a good few weeks with Mr. RX Murali. It was my second stint with him. I also trained with him in the summer of 2021. I worked on my white ball game, my range of shots, my powerful shots “Indrajith told Indian Express.
“I had a good Vijay Hazare tournament and then I went to the KKR trial. Things went well there. They chose me at the auction. I started the Ranji Trophy well and everything started to fall into place. I keep everything very simple,” he adds.
Indrajith’s three centuries had come when the team was under pressure. In the first game against Delhi, he scored a 117-ball 149 counter-attack, followed by a 141-ball 127 against Chhattisgarh and then a 132-ball 100 against Jharkhand in the current game.
“From the start of the season, the focus has been on white-ball cricket. My mindset has changed and I play with a lot of freedom now. Maybe that’s why I get races at a faster pace in the Ranji Trophy,” he says.
Interestingly, Aprajith’s first-class average is 52.69, but he was never recognized. Three centuries have put him in the spotlight, and he just wants to keep that momentum going.
“I average over 50 in first class, but you have to score consecutive centuries to get recognition. If Tamil Nadu is doing well in the red ball, constantly reaching the final, that also helps. Everything has to line up for you to get noticed,” says Indrajith.
This will be the first time Indrajith has landed an IPL contract.
“I have to keep it very, very simple. Before the start of the tournament, I did not expect things to turn out like this. I was just focusing on the things I needed to do. And I will do the same. My immediate goal is to prepare well for the IPL and try to do well if I have the opportunity there as well. If I do my part well, other things will be taken care of. I don’t set myself too many goals. I want to do well, wherever I get the chance,” he says.
Short scores: Tamil Nadu: 285 & 14 for 2 in 9 overs (Rahul Shukla 2/4) v Jharkhand: 226 all out in 74.3 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 58, Utkarsh Singh 52; Manimaran Siddharth 4/37)