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The story of Avesh Khan

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Avesh_Khan_India_CricketIndia’s bowling was often considered the weak link in their overseas tours. Things have changed drastically over last few years. The acche din are finally here for India’s bowling unit. For the tour of South Africa, the BCCI decided to send 4 rookies with the Indian team. These players will help India’s batsmen prepare for the Test series. One of those four is a bowler – the youngest of the lot – who has impressed many in last two years and his career has burgeoned in last 2 seasons. He is the tall pacer Avesh Khan from Madhya Pradesh.

It all started in a small colony in Indore where Avesh used to bowl with a tennis ball. He had a good physique from a young age so he bowled really fast. His uncle suggested he take up leather ball cricket. Since then, Avesh has been working on his skills with the dream of becoming a fast bowler for the Indian cricket team.

Avesh started his journey with the Indore Colts Cricket club. While playing there, he caught the attention of Amay Khurasiya – a former India and Madhya Pradesh player. Khurasia was known for his ability to quickly identify talent in a novice player. He had already transformed one such talented player- Ishwar Pandey, who played for CSK and was a part of India’s squad during their tour to New Zealand and England in 2014.

Avesh’s performances earned him a call up to the Madhya Pradesh Under-16 team. He made a strong statement with some magnificent performances in the Vijay Merchant U-16 Trophy. It was clear that he was well ahead of others in a similar age group. He was soon promoted to play in the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association Under-19 team.

But the life of a fast bowler is not easy. In his debut season, 2012-13, Avesh picked up 21 wickets but suffered an ankle injury. He had to take rest and couldn’t participate in the Under-19s One-Day tournament.

Avesh had been part of India’s Under-19 team for 2 consecutive world cups. In 2014, India lost in the quarterfinal, while in 2016 India suffered their only defeat in the final against West Indies. Over 3 years, Avesh transformed himself as a bowler.

At the age of 18, He made his debut for the Madhya Pradesh Ranji trophy team. He justified his selection by dismissing internationally capped players like Wriddhiman Saha and Manoj Tiwary in their game against Bengal.

Avesh’s career had gathered pace and he added some to his bowling as well. He was a frequent member of the development programme at the MRF Pace Academy, impressing director Glenn McGrath. Avesh took a hat-trick in the zonal matches played at NCA to prove his supremacy. Since then, he has taken his game to new heights. He shows his aggression on field, but off the field he is very humble.

IPL- The major turnaround

During the 2016 IPL auctions, many expected Avesh – India’s premier bowler in age level cricket – to be picked by a team. However, he went unsold. When asked about this he said, “I want to become a player who is worth a crore and not few lakhs!” The expectations he set for himself were pretty high and it was clear that such incidents would do little to halt his progress.

Later on during the same edition of the IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore chose to sign Avesh as a replacement for an injured player. As this was towards the end of the tournament, Avesh hardly got any chance to train with RCB. Bharat Arun, now bowling coach of the Indian team, had worked with Avesh during his Under 19 World Cup preparation. He was also a bowling coach of RCB and knew about Avesh’s consummate skills with ball. RCB retained him for the 2017 season.

2017 was not a good IPL season for RCB. Avesh had to wait for his chances throughout the tournament. But he got the opportunity to bowl to some of the best batsmen in the world in the nets- AB De Villiers, Chris Gayle and Indian captain Virat Kohli. Kohli was very impressed the way he bowled and Avesh was handed his IPL debut in the 56th match, where he provided an early breakthrough by claiming the wicket of Sanju Samson on his 2nd ball.

Soon, he caught attention of the selectors as well. He was chosen for the Board President’s XI to face Australia. He bowled decently, claiming the wicket of Hilton Cartwright with the 2nd ball that he bowled. He also played in Board President’s XI against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Having got enough exposure, the selectors have taken the decision to send him to South Africa along with the Indian cricket team. His raw pace and bounce will help Indian batsmen practice dealing with South Africa’s bowling attack.

Avesh is being groomed by the selectors, and the Indian captain, by giving him exposure to international cricket. Already, he has been called the next fast bowler to lead India’s bowling attack. With the giant strides he is taking in his career, it is not long before he will make a debut for the Indian team, completing his journey from Indore to India!

 

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