IPL 2019: In the past 2 years, I've had no time for myself, says Delhi Capitals' Avesh Khan
In this mid-day online exclusive, Avesh Khan talks on his opportunity with Team India at the World Cup, the words of advice from the legendary Rahul Dravid and the experience of playing with the Delhi Capitals.
India’s pace department is brimming with some world-class options and one such exciting talent is Avesh Khan. India’s highest wicket-taker in the U-19 World Cup in 2014, he has made a rapid rise on the domestic front and then went on to impress the IPL franchises. Currently with the Delhi Capitals, Khan is known to be one of the best in the country. The 22-year old has raw pace and is known for executing the yorkers at will. He single-handedly destroyed Hyderabad with 7/24 in the Ranji Trophy this season and impressed one and all. As a young fast bowler, he has the right amount of temperament and the skills to make it to the big stage.
In this mid-day online exclusive, he talks on his opportunity with Team India at the World Cup, the words of advice from the legendary Rahul Dravid and the experience of playing with the Delhi Capitals.
How do you feel on getting picked as a net bowler for the World Cup and how are you preparing for it?
Of course, it’s a very proud feeling. I have been there with the Indian Team before for 2-3 days when Australia had come to India in 2017. After that, I have also been to South Africa in 2018 and then UAE, but the World Cup feel and atmosphere will be an altogether different experience. It feels proud to see yourself there going to the World Cup as a support system. At the same time, I am working hard to play for India as soon as I can.
How is the atmosphere and the camaraderie in the current Delhi Capitals squad like?
The team environment is great because if you see we have a very young squad. All of us are doing well. There is no scenario like senior or junior. Most of us are of the same age and we enjoy our game. The team atmosphere is friendly. We have gelled well as a unit and we have improved in a lot of departments.
Shreyas Iyer was your teammate in the U-19 World Cup and now he was your captain in the IPL. What is the understanding with him like?
Shreyas Iyer is extremely supportive as a captain. We share a good friendship and go along well with each other. He does not show himself as a captain. We are friends like before. The bonding and understanding between us is quite good. In the matches that I played, he kept on talking with me and suggested different things. He encourages me a lot and asked me to keep up on my strengths and the things that I have been doing right.
What words of advice did you receive from legends like Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting?There’s a completely transparent environment in the team. Dada and Ricky are both very friendly to the youngsters. They talk to you individually on the areas that one needs to work upon. They treat all of us at equals. They focus equally on the players on the bench as they do on the playing eleven. They talk individually to the players and make them understand their roles. They talk about various conditions and situations that we might encounter as a bowler or batsman, and what we should do in that scenario.
What were you learnings from the stint in RCB?
The experience with the RCB camp was quite good. I had got to play my last match against Delhi and I had done well. There also, I worked on the things that are in my control. Be it in the nets or being in the gym to stay fit, or be it running and to be game-ready. I have always utilised the opportunities and have believed in doing the best that I know. The selection is not in my hands but I surely have a chance to improve every single day.
Being a fast bowler, what do you think of the fast-bowling culture that has emerged in India since last few years?
Previously, India was not that a great fast bowling unit. The cricket has do much developed, the amount of cricket is so much that players are getting their chances and are coming up through the ranks. Firstly, Ranji also did not have many matches. There are around 4-5 India A tours, the number of Ranji matches have increased too. Then there is IPL too. It’s a great platform for a player to show their ability and prove themselves. The matches are broadcasted live and the players get a boost in their confidence that they will be getting noticed. It is always helping the player to make a constant improvement. I believe this is why the fast bowling squad has developed immensely. Now we have all varieties of bowlers, the ones who swing it, the ones who bowl 140, and the ones who swing it both ways. It is a complete fast-bowling squad we have right now. The strong domestic cricket, India A exposure, and the platform of IPL has groomed the bowlers. Doing well in the IPL helps you getting noticed and everyone strives to reach that level and show their ability.
How did the stint for India A with Rahul Dravid make you a better player?
He was also my coach during my U-19. He was happy to see my progress. I had 35 wickets in 7 first-class matches and did well in the one-dayers too. I was selected for the Board President’s XI against West Indies last year where I took four wickets. He told me he was happy to see the improvement in my bowling and could see the efforts I was putting in as compared to U-19. I was the highest wicket-taker in the U-19 World Cup with 12 wickets. He encouraged me saying I am doing better than before and he could see that in me. He said I am sticking to my plans that I had worked upon. He was happy with my line and length. Had I got more chances in this IPL, maybe I would have got some opportunities after the World Cup, on the tour to West Indies. Our fast bowlers Shami, Bhuvi, and Bumrah have been playing continuous cricket and if they are given a break, the young talent might get a look in. Last year, I had played 6 matches but I didn’t get much chances this year because the team was already doing well continuously. I will put up notable performances on my future tours and make everyone believe that I can do well.
What are the five things you carry when you are traveling during IPL, apart from your cricket gear?
It’s not that I travel with a lot of things but I always have my speakers handy.
Do you have any superstitions when you enter the cricket field?
I don’t think about all that. I just chill and focus on bowling in the right areas. I keep it simple. As long as we keep it that way, the mind stays relaxed. Otherwise there are lot of things that can go on in your mind. I just stick to my basics.
How do you unwind when not playing cricket?
Honestly since last 2 years, I have not got any time for myself. There has been so much of cricket. There was the Ranji Trophy last year, the tour to West Indies in between that, NCA camps, Mushtaq Ali, and there was IPL now. I will get some time to go home and then I would be leaving for the World Cup. Other tours would start after that. I have not been able to spare time for myself but I am not complaining. Fast bowling is not an easy job. You have to constantly stay fit. You should have a routine of eating and sleeping on time. Proper time has to be given for recovery. The body will respond well if I do that.
What do you think of India’s chances during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019?
We have an extremely strong and balanced side. If you see, the players who are going to the World Cup are in a superb form this IPL – Rohit bhai, Shikhar bhai, Virat bhai, MS Dhoni, Hardik, Chahal, Jadeja, and of course, Jasprit Bumrah. He’s the best in the world in ODIs. It is a complete side. We will surely win the World Cup if we click together as a unit.
What are your future plans in cricket?
The immediate plan is to play or India A and perform well. If it was in my hands to play for India, I would have played it already. The hard work and efforts are on and I am ready for my chance. Whenever I get it, I will make the most of it. It would be an amazing feeling to play for the country and prove myself.
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