India’s pace attack have exceeded everyone’s expectations in the ongoing Test series against South Africa. Even though the world No. 1 Test side have conceded an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, the pace battery have played a vital role in claiming all the 40 Proteas wickets in 2 Tests.
Owing to the combination of lively pace and top-class swing bowling, Indian fast bowlers have shared 30 out of the 40 South African wickets between them. Ahead of the all-important series, the Indian team management had urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to let three domestic bowlers accompany the team.
The main motive behind this wish was to reduce the workload of six frontline pacers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. The BCCI had granted the team management wish by sending three rookie bowlers – Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan and Basil Thampi to the rainbow nation.
The pace trio have now returned to India and recently opened up about their experience of spending time with the senior Indian team and the lesson learned from this exposure.
“Bharat Arun (bowling coach) sir told me a lot of technical things which helped me in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 games. He told me how to land the ball perfectly on target. My left hand used to cause me problems before, but now its fine,” Ankit Rajpoot said in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.
“In the process, we also learnt how a team prepares for an international Test match,” added the 24-year-old.
Talking about the tips he got from the seniors, Rajpoot said: “Rohit (Sharma) bhai told me that I was doing well and if I do better, I will be in the team someday. He said that it is all about grabbing the right opportunity to produce a clinical performance. It could be anywhere — Ranji Trophy, India A or the Indian Premier League (IPL).”
Madhya Pradesh speedster Avesh, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2017 under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, also cleared his doubts. “My line and length improved. I also had a few doubts regarding swing, which was rectified by Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav,” he told Sportstar.
“Whatever problems I faced in the domestic season, they cleared it all. It was a huge exposure for us to bowl at world class batsmen.
“Whatever I am getting today, it is because of RCB. I want to play for them, if I had a choice, but generally, I am open to play anywhere; whoever gives me a chance,” added Avesh.
Sharing his experience of bowling to the likes of Kohli and Rohit, Kerala pacer Basil Thampi said: “The opportunity to bowl to legends like Kohli and Rohit in itself is a confidence booster. A bowler can judge himself better in these situations.”
Thampi also sounded excited for the upcoming IPL auctions, scheduled to be held in Bangalore on January 27 and 28.
“Last year, it was a dream come true. I also got the wickets of Chris Gayle and Dhoni bhai. I really wish to play for CSK next; on top of that, I am almost a Chennai boy now. I spend a lot of time here at the MRF Pace Foundation,” he concluded.