Bangalore:An ecstatic Abhimanyu Mithun on Thursday described his national selection as reward for his hard work, while former players Anil Kumble and GR Viswanath hailed the fiery pacer's inclusion in the Indian team for the first Test against South Africa next month.
Delighted with the call-up for the Test match against South Africa beginning on February 6 at Nagpur, Mithun said it was a great feeling for him.
"I am feeling really great. I cannot express how I feel," an excited Mithun told PTI from Indore where he is playing Duleep Trophy.
"The opportunity to play for India is a reward for my hard work and performance," said the 20-year-old player who made his first class debut only this season.
Mithun was in sensational form this year and emerged as the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy with 47 scalps. His three-wicket burst in the first innings against Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy yesterday convinced the national selection committee about his potential.
Though confident of doing well against the South Africans, Mithun said he was not thinking beyond the first match.
"I will take each match at a time. I will continue to work hard and improve my bowling. If I do that I should be able to live up to people's expectations," said Mithun.
Mithun's selection got the stamp of approval from former India captain Anil Kumble.
"It is a great reward for a youngster who has performed very well. It is a good opportunity to get a break against a quality side. He should be his usual self and go about bowling the way he has been doing through the season," said Kumble.
Kumble was hopeful that Mithun would do well.
"He has pace and is aggressive. If he continues to bowl as well as he has done in the Ranji Trophy, I am sure he should do well," said Kumble.
Commending the national selection panel for making a very good move in picking the youngster, Indian batting legend G R Viswanath felt Mithun deserved this break.
"He deserves the break. I have been watching him over the last two years. He is progressing rapidly. It is good for him and Indian cricket," said Viswanath.
Viswanth believes that Mithun should continue to bowl really quick.
"At this age, he has been consistently clocking 140 plus. As he gains experience at the top level he should get quicker.
"I would advise him to bowl fast while maintaining line and length. He should not get into the mindset of bowling 130 or 135 km and settle for line and length as most fast bowlers do after they make it to the national team," said Viswanath.
Mithun is the sixth fast bowler from Karnataka to make it to the national team, following in the footsteps of Roger Binny, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, David Johnson and Dodda Ganesh.
Considering that he bowls at speeds over 140 km, is accurate, uses the short ball intelligently and extracts life from docile wickets, Mithun, who had been short-listed for the Bangladesh series, could carve a niche for himself in Indian cricket and the strapping, young fast bowler is bubbling for action.
Since news of his selection spread, there has been a constant buzz at the Mithun household in Peenya T Dasarahalli, a suburb near Bangalore.
Apart from attending a press conference, Mithun's father and mother have been receiving guests and congratulatory calls from friends and relatives.
"I am very, very, very happy. I cannot experience greater happiness than this. My joy is overflowing," said Malaiah Abhimanyu, Mithun's father.
"I am proud of my son. I am confident that he will do our country proud," said Abhimanyu, who runs a gym where Mithun toned his muscles.
"He is a hard worker. Be it studying or anything else, he always he does well. He is a boy for detail and will ensure that everything is perfect," he said.
Mithun's mother Kavitha too was ecstatic.
"The whole town has been visiting home to wish us. It is great feeling. I am happy for my son," she said.