Maharashtra's Ankit Bawne
Former India wicketkeeper and Tamil Nadu captain Bharath Reddy reckons a new Murali Vijay has arrived on the scene in the form of Maharashtra opener Ankit Bawne.
Bawne has been picked for the India 'A' team's tour of South Africa.
Aurangabad-based Bawne, a consistent run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy for the last few years, played a vital role in Reddy's team Jolly Rovers Chemplast and helped them win the Tamil Nadu League recently.
Bawne, 24, plundered 1130 runs in eight matches and six of his seven centuries were scored on the trot. Prominent players like Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Piyush Chawla and Jayant Yadav were part of the Jolly Rovers team.
"Murali is more experienced now, but in his younger days he looked very much like Ankit with his temperament and approach to the game. Ankit is heading in the right direction and I think he should do well," said Reddy over the phone from Chennai yesterday.
Reddy, 62, who figured behind the stumps in India's four-Test series on the 1979 tour of England, added: "He is a brilliant cricketer with a sound temperament which is ideal for four-day cricket. The Tamil Nadu League here is competitive and he proved his mettle with consistent performances. I am confident he will do well in South Africa."
Bawne, who has toured Australia, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for different teams, is optimistic of a good showing on his first South Africa tour. "I have a fair idea about playing in overseas conditions, but in South Africa, we will have to play on bowler-friendly wickets. I see this as a big opportunity," said Bawne.
The opener is not disappointed over the fact that he is in the India 'A' squad for only the longer format. "I was the highest run-getter in the T20 domestic tournament last season, but I lacked consistency in the shorter form of the game. I am sure I will get my opportunity in one-day cricket as well," he added.
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