‘I was a net bowler there…’: How Akash Madhwal became RCB’s loss and MI’s gain | Cricket

Mumbai Indians registered a rather straightforward victory over Lucknow Super Giants in the 2023 Indian Premier League on Wednesday night. The side, after posting a strong score of 182/8 in 20 overs, bowled the Super Giants out on merely 101 with uncapped Indian pacer Akash Madhwal emerging as a hero for the side. Madhwal registered incredible figures of 5/5 in 3.3 overs; equalling legendary former spinner Anil Kumble for the most economical five-wicket haul in the tournament’s history.

Akash Madhwal(IPL)
Akash Madhwal(IPL)

Madhwal struck the opening breakthrough in LSG’s innings when he dismissed Prerak Mankad for 6, and then dismissed the dangerous Ayush Badoni (1) in his second spell. In the same over, Madhwal also sent Nicholas Pooran packing for a golden duck, putting Super Giants on backfoot. Following a couple of run outs in the 13th and 15th over, Madhwal removed Ravi Bishnoi (1) before taking the final wicket of the innings, removing Mohsin Khan on a duck.

Justifiably, the 29-year-old pacer was named the player of the match and also attended the post-match press conference, where he talked about his beginnings in the tournament. Madhwal revealed that he was a net bowler at RCB and even when he joined MI, he only played practice games in the intial year.

“I was a net bowler with RCB in 2019. Now, I’m getting a chance in the team (Mumbai Indians) this year. When the scouting team picks you as a net bowler, they also give you chances in practice matches, where you have to show your potential and perform. The team watches you closely, and the franchise takes care of you,” Madhwal told reporters.

“Last year, I played in two matches. I got a clear message that I will be given a chance next year,” he further said.

Madhwal, however, insisted that even as Jasprit Bumrah is not in the team, he is focussing on “fulfilling the responsibility,” and that the pressure of “replacing” the star India pacer never crossed his mind. MI are also without the services of Jofra Archer, who was ruled out mid-way through the season due to an injury relapse.

“I am trying my best to fulfil the responsibilities given to me by the team. I am not Bumrah’s replacement but I’m trying my best to do what I can,” said Madhwal.

Madhwal also said skipper Rohit Sharma knew his strengths and how to use him. “Rohit bhaiya knew that yorkers were my strength but during the nets and practice matches, he also found that I can bowl well with the new ball,” he said.

“So he had an idea as to how to use me as the situation warranted. I’m also very chilled out and relaxed and I’m having fun because I’m pursuing my passion.”

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