Madhya Pradesh's Avesh relishes South Africa stint

The 21-year old right-arm pacer from Madhya Pradesh, was one of the three Indian net bowlers for the recent Test series in South Africa. Basil Thampi and Ankit Rajpoot were the other two who accompanied him.

Madhya Pradesh's Avesh Khan has been picked by the Delhi Daredevils for this year's IPL.   -  K. Pichumani

Avesh Khan, the 21-year old right-arm pacer from Madhya Pradesh, was one of the three Indian net bowlers for the recent Test series in South Africa. Basil Thampi and Ankit Rajpoot were the other two who accompanied him.

"We were there for eight days. It was a good experience. We had match simulation, open nets. We had to bowl to all the Indian batsmen for long periods. They (the team management) had an eye on us. They saw what we did and suggested what we should do to improve. It was like giving direction to our bowling.

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"Personally, it was a good opportunity for me, for the team got to see my bowling. I think I did really good there," he said here on Tuesday. He's in Chennai playing for Madhya Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare trophy.

He played one match for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL last season, and made a good impression on India and RCB captain Virat Kohli. Kohli was particularly impressed with the way Avesh had bowled on a "slow and low" Kotla track versus Delhi Daredevils in RCB's last league game.

"The way Avesh rushed it onto the batsmen on this pitch, something world-class bowlers couldn't do, was impressive," Kohli had said.

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Avesh was called for a selection trial and picked by RCB towards the end of IPL 2016, and was retained in 2017.

He says that his RCB stint has helped him sharpen his focus when bowling. "Earlier, when I ran in to bowl, I used to have four different deliveries in mind. Now, I've learnt to have and focus on one plan."

He reckons that the three matches he played for the Board President's XI last year — two versus the visiting New Zealand team, and one versus the visiting Australian team — has played a big part in him getting selected as a net bowler to South Africa.

He led the pace attack and was the highest wicket-taker for India u-19 in the 2016 World Cup. "I was the senior bowler then. I had to focus on myself as well as the other bowlers. I had to guide and take care of them. It taught me how to be responsible," he says.

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He's been picked by the Delhi Daredevils for this year's IPL, an opportunity for him to brush shoulders with Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada. He said he's looking forward to learn from them, do well, and get in the reckoning for the Indian team.

Vijay Hazare matches shifted

The Vijay Hazare trophy matches, originally scheduled to be played at the Guru Nanak college ground in Chennai, have been shifted to the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (MAC) and the SSN college grounds.

The match between Goa and Madhya Pradesh on Feb. 11 will now be played at MAC, and the Goa vs. Mumbai and the Gujarat vs. Goa matches on Feb. 12 & 14 will be played at the SSN college ground.

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