IPL retention and 4/8 – Avesh explodes at the right time

Madhya Pradesh pacer Avesh Khan, retained by Delhi Daredevils for IPL 2019, picked up four wickets for just eight runs against Kerala on Wednesday.

Avesh Khan in action against Kerala at the St. Xavier's ground, Thumba, on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

Two months ago, when Avesh Khan cleaned up Shimron Hetmyer in Windies’ tour match against Indian Board President XI in Vadodara, the precision and accuracy turned many heads. The 21-year-old had returned with impressive figures — 4/60 at an economy of 3.52.

The warm-up match against international cricketers started his red ball preparation for the domestic season a month in advance. 

On Wednesday, the Madhya Pradesh pacer ran through Kerala to record his best performance in first-class cricket — 4/8 at an economy of 0.80 in the Ranji Trophy Group B Elite fixture in Thiruvananthapuram.

After a thrilling day one, Avesh is keen to repeat his performance in the second innings. “It was a good batting wicket. It was easy to bat on that wicket. We exploited the initial moisture to gain momentum. Kuldeep also bowled well and got us regular wickets. There was not much swing on the wicket,” he told Sportstar.

READ: Advantage MP as Avesh, Kuldeep run through Kerala

The pacer credited leggie Mihir Hirwani, who removed Sachin Baby and V.A. Jagadeesh, for setting the stage. “After those two wickets, I needed just one over to finish it off.”

The MP bowlers studied the in-form Kerala batsmen as the Sachin Baby-led side already registered two wins in the tournament. “We had seen video clips of Kerala batsmen before the game, so we knew the areas to bowl,” he added.

Coming up through the U-19 ranks, Avesh’s performance will hold him good for the positives around his career at the moment. Barely two weeks ago, Delhi Daredevils retained him for IPL 2019.

“I know that if I perform, all good things will happen. I haven’t planned my future as such. Those things aren’t in my hands. And every performance becomes a past record after one day. This 4/8 will be in the records. Now my aim will be to get more wickets in the second innings and go for an outright win,” he said.

Seeing his U-19 (batch of 2016) colleague Khaleel Ahmed don the India jersey also inspires him. “I keep talking to him. I feel very happy that he is playing for the senior team. Now I am also trying to focus on my game so that I can do well in the future,” said Avesh, who was trained by former India cricketer Amay Khurasiya in his younger days.