On Saturday, the BCCI announced Team India’s squad for the remaining three Tests of the series against England, which saw Bengal’s Akash Deep receiving a maiden Test call-up. The pacer has been impressive in his appearances for India ‘A’ against the England Lions over multiple matches in recent weeks; Akash Deep replaced Avesh Khan in the squad, who has been released to play in the Ranji Trophy.
When the squad was announced on Saturday, Akash Deep was in action for Bengal against Kerala; he had wrapped up his bowling stint and was patrolling towards the boundary when the pacer was greeted by a chorus of applause emanating from the Bengal dressing room.
The cheers signified the poignant moment as he received his debut call-up to the Indian Test squad. In a chat with PTI following the day’s play, Akash Deep stated that he didn’t expect a Test call-up in the ongoing series.
“I was hopeful that in near future I might get a Test call-up if I keep performing but I didn’t expect that it would come by third match itself,” Akash Deep said.
Akash has 103 wickets from 29 First-Class matches and in two ‘Tests’ against England Lions, he took 11 wickets, including two four-wicket hauls.
“Inswing is my stock delivery but at this level, you need to have outswing and reverse swing and more importantly need to control the swing.
“I was in (India) ODI squad in South Africa and realised more than skill, at this level, it is more about mental strength of being able to execute plans under pressure,” he said.
This is the first time in many years that two Bengal pacers are together in the Indian Test team. Mukesh Kumar is also a part of the Indian squad in the ongoing Test series against England and also played in the second match in Visakhapatnam.
“This is a matter of pride that myself and Mukesh (Kumar) bhai will be in the Indian dressing room together in a Test team. Bengal is our state and it has given us everything. This national call-up is my way of showing my gratitude to Bengal,” Akash Deep said.