Bengal pacer Akash Deep’s sole aim is to bowl fast and help his team win every match.

The 25-year-old from Sasaram, Bihar, who made his first-class debut for Bengal in December 2019 after playing club cricket in Kolkata for a few years, has established himself as an important member of the Bengal pace attack, also comprising Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar.

Akash was part of the team that reached the final in the previous edition of the Ranji Trophy. He has made significant contributions in Bengal’s two wins this season so far.

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“There is only one thing in my mind – I have to bowl fast, around 140-145kmph, whether I bowl the first over or the 25th over. Maintaining a balance between bowling fast and sticking to good line and length is also important. Playing Ranji Trophy helps,” Akash told Sportstar.

“Now I am pitching it up. I understand what a track demands and where to bowl on it.”

Akash, who has taken 45 wickets in 11 first class matches, is happy because of his growth as a pacer. “My control has become better. I understand how to read a batsman and how to plan for him. Without that you can’t do anything in red ball cricket, no matter how fast you are.”

A fiery bowler and an affable team man, Akash takes pride in the Bengal pace attack. For him, it’s a team within a team.

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“There is no competition among us. The main team consists of 11 players, but we the pacers work like a team and enjoy each other's success. It does not matter who has taken how many wickets."

Akash gave a beautiful anecdote about the Bengal pacers’ cohesiveness. “During the semifinal against Karnataka at the Eden (in the previous season), when Ishan and Mukesh took wickets in the morning, I thought let them finish it up so that I don’t have to bowl. I enjoyed it so much. I got a chance only when the tail-enders did not get out.”

Akash wants to carry forward his confidence when he dons the Royal Challengers Bangalore jersey in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“It’s about controlling your mind – whether I am not getting scared on that stage, whether I am not getting overawed by the player who is in front of me. If I overcome all this, then it’s the same job. I need to have self-belief,” said Akash.