Before every IPL, Avesh Khan pays a visit to the MRF Pace Foundation. Here, he hones his skill, trains hard and settles into a good bowling groove.
This year was a breakout season for the 24-year-old Avesh in the Indian Premier League. Before the first game he remembers Delhi Capitals coach, the legendary Ricky Ponting, telling him, “This is your moment seize it.”
And after he produced a stellar performance, Ponting said, “Now that you have got off to a good start, continue in the same rhythm. We will back you fully.”
Bowling with fire and hostility with the new ball and at the death, he finished with 14 wickets in eight matches at 7.70 (economy rate). Only Harshal Patel, with 17, grabbed more wickets. “When the shine was there, I was able to move the ball. Then I was able to send down yorkers.”
There is a strong Australian connection to Avesh’s success. Ponting, impressed with Avesh’s potential, spoke to him regularly about the day’s play and the game-plan for the next encounter.
“Ponting is a very good motivator,” said Avesh.
And Aussie pace bowling legend, Glenn McGrath, fine-tuned Avesh’s technique for longer duration matches, taught him the virtues of patience and made him bowl on the fourth stump at the MRF Pace Foundation.
Head coach M. Senthilnathan constantly interacted with Avesh.
One of the four ‘travelling’ standbyes for the tour of England, Avesh is looking at the future with optimism. Someone with a semi side-on release and a high-arm action, Avesh has strong shoulders and a good seam position.
He said, “I can consistently bowl at over 140 kmph. And my slower delivery is around 120.”
His most memorable wickets in this year’s IPL? “Bowling both Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni. Kohli was beaten by movement. And Dhoni attempted a pull.”
Talking about his rapport with Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant, Avesh said, “We go back to our India under-19 days. He gave me complete freedom with my field placements. And we would discuss the day’s play.”
Avesh is on top of his game now.