AVESH Khan still regrets the famous helmet incident where he threw his helmet after Lucknow Super Giants defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in a close IPL game in Bengaluru. He still remembers how he was badly trolled thereafter and messages kept pouring in.
“Yeh social media mein mera mahool bana rehta hai and helmet incident thoda jyada hogaya tha. I realised later that I shouldn’t have done this. It just happened in the heat of the moment. I now feel sad that yaar yeh sab cheez nahi karna tha,” Khan says.
As the West Indies series is around the corner, the Madhya Pradesh seamer is hoping that selectors will hand him a recall. His last India appearance came in October 2022 when he featured against South Africa at home. In the 2021-22 season, Khan was looked at as a pacer for the shortest format but soon the selector moved on. He wasn’t part of the T20 World Cup squad in Australia and later he was asked to play domestic cricket. He finished with 38 wickets in eight games for MP which lost in the semifinals and Khan said he was pleased with the way his red-ball performance went.
However, he admits that IPL didn’t go as he expected to. “If you compare my past two IPL seasons before this one, it went the way I wanted too. However, even though the season didn’t go well as per my standard, I maintained my economy rate which is less than 10. I bowl crucial overs 4 or 5th over and later in death,” he points out, explaining how this season has witnessed more 200 runs games and all bowlers have a higher economy rate.
Back in the Lucknow side, Andy Flower was impressed with his effort and fast bowling coach Morne Morkel, advised him on how to set up batsman. “I had stitches in my web and still I bowled in initial IPL games. He openly said that he likes my attitude that puts the team above everything else. I took a painkiller and took an injection in my hand and everyone praised me after the game,” he recalls.
Tough to be a fast bowler
With domestic calendar also packed, it can be hard on fast bowlers to maintain the rhythm throughout out the season while juggling between different formats.
From playing for the Indian team one day and then being asked to play domestic cricket takes a lot of mental toll. Khan says he bowled more than 240 overs last season for MP and there were occasions when his body was demanding rest but he just carried on as each game became important for his side.
“A fast bowler always tries to be at his peak and it’s not easy. Lot goes behind the scenes, be it following a diet, following proper schedule, taking 8-9 hours sleep. You need proper training and proper recovery too. It looks simple but it’s very tough. When playing domestic cricket, it’s hard to say I won’t bowl much or will bowl only certain number of overs. I bowled 30-35 overs on an average during Ranji Trophy games. There is travel and a one day break before you recover for the next game,” he explains.
In this search for an India comeback, there are people who offer help. Subroto Banerjee, a current selectors, advised him how he needs to keep his wrist straight while Paras Mhambrey, Indian team bowling coach, told him how to use the non-bowling arm.
At Lucknow, Gautam Gambhir told him he wants him to bowl as fast as possible, even if he leaks 60 runs in four overs, he won’t mind. “There are few things I have worked on and one thing is clear that now I know what one shouldn’t do while bowling. I saw all my videos and tried to understand where I was going wrong,” he adds.
Asked if he is now hoping to board the plane for the Windies tour, he adds, “I’m hoping to be there. Selection is not in my hand as a player, one goes through ups and down. I want to make a comeback and just hoping to do that.”