Great to be part of my hero Sanju’s team in the IPL: Basith

P. Abdul Basith

P. Abdul Basith

The venue of this year’s IPL mini-auction wasn’t far from P. Abdul Basith’s home in Ernakulam. After attending selection trials for various IPL franchises, the 24-year-old was hopeful of getting picked by one of them at the auction in Kochi.

“I had done particularly well at the trials with Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians and I am delighted that I am joining Royals,” Basith told The Hindu. “Sanju Samson has been one of my heroes and it feels great that I am becoming a part of his team.”

Basith says he has gained by playing alongside Sanju in the Kerala team. “He has encouraged me a lot,” says Basith, who is the first from his family to play any sport.

“Everyone, including my father, who works as a driver at the Ernakulam depot of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, has been very supportive.”
That Basith hadn’t neglected academics must have made them happy. After doing his B.A. in Hindi from the Maharaja’s College (Ernakulam), he is doing his masters in it.

It was while he was studying in Class VII at St. Mary’s UP School that he fell in love with cricket. “I saw boys of the Kerala Cricket Association’s academy playing and I too wanted to play,” he recalls. I also got selected to the KCA’s District and State academies. Tripunithura Cricket Club too has helped me greatly develop as a player.”

It was the KCA’s decision to have all-Kerala T20 tournaments that proved a turning point for Basith, just as it was for several Kerala players, including off-spinner Vaisakh Chandran, who has made a sudden impact in both white and red-ball cricket.

“Without tournaments like the KCA Presidents’ Cup, we would not have got a platform to show our skills,” says Basith. “Playing Ranji Trophy is another dream, and I am happy that I have been selected in Kerala’s Under-25 squad.”

Basith says he has been working hard on his power-hitting of late, with former Kerala Ranji stars Raiphi Vincent Gomez and V.A. Jagadeesh.

“I am also grateful to the coaches who have helped me in various stages of my career — M.A. Sunil, N.K. Umesh, N. Bijumon and H. Pratheesh,” says the man who admires Sachin Tendulkar and Kane Williamson.

“A lot of training is required if you want to be a good finisher, which has been my role with the Kerala team after I made it to the team this year.”

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