From his struggling days as a fast bowling aspirant to success in the Caribbean, Mukesh Kumar has come a long way.
Mukesh, the son of a cab driver from Bihar, attended the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB)’s Vision project in its first year in early 2014. During those days of struggle, Mukesh never gave up, his passion and dedication kept pushing him towards his goal of donning the India colours.
Nine years on, Mukesh, who turns 30 in October, has made a mark in both his Test and ODI debuts in Port of Spain and Bridgetown, respectively, against the West Indies. His performance has given him a fair chance of being a part of India’s next Test assignment, in South Africa in December.
“The national selectors are quite impressed with him, particularly how he bowled on that slow, flat track in Port of Spain. And then in the ODIs too, he has been effective.
“If he does well in the matches leading up to the South Africa tour, he definitely has a very good chance of being there in the squad again,” a BCCI source said.
The coming T20Is against the Windies and Ireland followed by the Asian Games in September/October present Mukesh with more opportunities to prove his mettle.
Making his Test debut on a docile Queen’s Park Oval pitch, Mukesh stuck to the basics and focused on hitting the stumps and pitching it on the corridor of uncertainty. “With the red ball, I would say Mukesh is one of the best in the country because he can produce a wicket-taking ball out of nothing. Not too many have that ability at present,” former Bengal coach-cum-mentor Arun Lal told The Telegraphon Wednesday.
The pitch at Tarouba for the third and final ODI on Tuesday also had nothing much in it for the quicks. Yet, Mukesh made good use of the seam to yank out the Windies top three.
“It appears Mukesh has improved bowling with the white ball too. That goes down to his experience in the IPL (this year for Delhi Capitals). The expertise that has been around him, the high-intensity games and the demands of the tournament have certainly made him sharper.
“Even Dadi(Sourav Ganguly) was saying that Mukesh will do much better now in limited-overs cricket,” Sourashish Lahiri, a member of the Bengal coaching staff, said.
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