Chennai lad Anirudha Srikkanth on winning the man of the match award, his style of batting and more
For someone with the most popular cricketing surname in these parts, comparisons with the real deal are inevitable. Anirudha Srikkanth, 23, occupies not just the same slot in the batting order as his dad, but also shares with the World Cup-winner a similar swashbuckling approach with the willow.
“I don't pay attention to it (comparisons with Krish Srikkanth). I have not modelled my game on anyone. I have just tried to be as natural as I can be,” he said.
“He (Srikkanth) had his own brand of cricket. He has done well for India during his time. He had his strengths and his weaknesses. He is a very important man (in my career), and I have learnt a lot from him, but I have never tried to copy him. I just look at the ball and do what comes naturally,” says Anirudha.
Perhaps the attacking instinct runs through the family, but Anirudha is keen to avoid talk of such equivalence.
“I don't believe in all that. It's about your role in the team and as long as you perform you are going to entertain.”
Having made his Ranji debut for the State as a 16-year-old, Anirudha has had a start-stop career with Tamil Nadu and the natural opener has also had to contend with some intense competition in both the Tamil Nadu and Chennai Super Kings outfits. Murali Vijay is an established presence in both elevens, while Mathew Hayden (for CSK) and Abhinav Mukund (for Tamil Nadu) have been first choice openers, ahead of Anirudha.
Vijay's association with the national team and Hayden's eventual phasing out led to a few openings and Anirudha grabbed the opportunity. A constant in Tamil Nadu's Ranji set-up of late, Anirudha has also performed well on the few occasions that CSK have pitched him into action. During the last edition, Anirudha, playing out of position at no. 7 in the semifinal against Deccan Chargers, scored a priceless 24 off 15 balls in a low scoring scrap. That ensured a starting spot in the final ahead of the likes of Michael Hussey and in this season's opener, Anirudha was promoted to open, and the Chennai lad did not disappoint.
Though it was a chancy knock, Anirudha's 64 in the tournament-opener against Kolkata Knight Riders was the highest score by a distance and also won him the man of the match award.
“I really wanted to open the innings for Chennai. Before this season I did talk to the owners and I did tell them that if there is any chance to open I am willing to put my hand up and take the opportunity to do so,” the 23-year-old said after the match.
While earlier a sluggish wicket or a tight spell seemed to induce a rash shot, Anirudha says he has now grown as a batsman.
“I am just older now and bound to get a little more mature. I am on the right track,” he said, after the match-winning innings.
Performances in the IPL have pitchforked many a performer into national reckoning, but Anirudha is not thinking that far ahead.
“I am not really looking at the future. Most importantly, I want to enjoy my cricket and I want to enjoy this IPL season.”