Mumbai Indian’s skipper Rohit Sharma had no doubt about unheralded Akash Madhwal’s talent during his two years in the set-up and hence he was confident that the Uttarakhand player would do the job for the team if he is persisted with.
An engineer from Uttarakhand, Madhwal had figures of 5 for 5 in 3.3 overs as Mumbai Indians inched one step closer to summit clash with a 81-run victory over Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL Eliminator on Wednesday. “That is what we have done over the years. People don’t expect us to do what we have done, but we managed to,” a pleased Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Also read: IPL 2023 | Mumbai one step closer after fiery Madhwal (5/5) rips through LSG
On Madhwal, the MI skipper said that he had watched his progress with MI for the last two years. “He (Akash) was the part of the team last year as a support bowler, and once Jofra (Archer) was gone and I knew he had skills and the character to do the job for us,” Rohit said. As a successful IPL captain, Rohit knows the art of man management better than most of his contemporaries.
“Over the years, we have seen many guys coming in from Mumbai Indians and playing for India. It is important to make them (youngsters) feel special and make them feel part of the team, my job is to just make them comfortable in the middle,” the India captain said.
“They (youngsters like Madhwal) are very clear in their roles about what they need to do for the team and that’s what you want.” There were three run-outs during the LSG run chase and the skipper himself was involved in two of them, including a direct hit to get rid of Krishanppa Gowtham.
“As a team, we enjoyed it (fielding). Good to see everyone contributing on the field. Coming to Chennai, we knew whole team needs to come to the party. At Wankhede, you need one or two brilliant performances, but here it is a different ball game.”
Trying to play my role: Akash
A humble Akash Madhwal said that he has a tendency to learn things quickly because of his background as an engineer. Madhwal, who will turn 30 this November, didn’t play competitive leather ball cricket till the age of 23 as he was focussing on getting his BE degree. He was a tennis ball cricketer and by the time he turned 24, Uttarakhand got BCCI affiliation and he entered the competitive cricket scenario.
Also read: IPL 2023 | Eliminator: Akash (5/5) bowls MI to big win; LSG knocked out
So where have you been, he was asked. “I was just practising, and waiting for this opportunity. I did my engineering, and played tennis-ball cricket since it was my passion. Engineers have a tendency to learn quickly,” he said with a sheepish grin.
In the last league game, he yorked Glenn Phillips and Heinrich Klaasen and on Wednesday, he bowled an unplayable delivery to Nicholas Pooran. “I just practice, and that is what we execute. I’m proud of myself, but I’ll try to be better.”
He has been Jasprit Bumrah’s replacement for the season but he was embarrassed when asked about filling India pace spearhead’s shoes. “Bumrah Bhai has his own place, and I’m just trying to play my role. Nicholas Pooran was the best wicket. Everyone at home believes I’m working hard.”