Indian pacer Avesh Khan’s journey and rise as a bowler
Avesh Khan has revealed how he’s become a better bowler, through a combination of constantly working on his skills, following a better diet and visualising what kind of deliveries he wanted to bowl.
The Team Delhi pacer, who will also be a net bowler for India on their upcoming England tour, lost 5 kgs ahead of this year’s Indian T20 League. He consulted his Madhya Pradesh Ranji trainer and dietician and followed different diets on match, training and rest days.
He also worked mainly on three types of deliveries: yorkers, slower balls and bouncers. "I thought if I practise these every day, my muscles and mind will react and remember them,” the 24-year old from Indore told ESPNcricinfo.
"I would also think of match situations. At the start of my run-up, I was clear about which ball to bowl. If my plan was to bowl a yorker, I'd focus only on that while running in, and similarly for a slower one.
"When I trained during the Indian T20 League, I used to focus on my role and part. Like sometimes in an entire practice session I would bowl only yorkers or slower ones, or sometimes bowl only with the new ball. And then consult the coaches about where I could improve.”
This season, Team Delhi played him early on as Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were arriving late, and Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav were not fully fit. Avesh said he was prepared to grab the opportunity.
He would go on to be the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 from eight games at an economy rate of 7.70.
"This time they gave me a chance from the first game and I was completely ready for it, physically and mentally,” Avesh said. “I knew what to do and what not to do on what kind of pitches, because while watching I used to visualise how I would have to bowl in certain situations with what kinds of fields for which kind of batsman."
Avesh also got support from his Team Delhi captain Rishabh Pant, who he has known from their Under-19 days. "Rishabh told me a day before the first game, 'enjoy karna, mast apna ball daalna [Enjoy yourself and bowl the way you do], don't worry about anything, and give your 100%.’ If your captain is also your friend, that gives you extra motivation.”
While he came into the spotlight during the Indian T20 League, Avesh also has a solid first-class record for Madhya Pradesh and India ‘A’, having taken 100 wickets in 26 games at an average of 23.01. He said he had picked up tips from Ishant about bowling with the red ball.
"I like to bowl long spells with the red ball. Bowling with the red ball is also my strength, and I usually pick wickets in every session and provide breakthroughs.
"I used to chat regularly with Ishant bhai. He told me the biggest challenge with the red ball is (that) when it doesn't swing, you have to bowl consistently in one place. In Chennai and Ahmedabad [during the England Tests this year] he told me about the grip of the ball, how to bowl to what kind of batsman. I'll try to implement these things in England.”
Featured photo: IPL/BCCI