IPL 2023 Auction: It is a good feeling to return to Delhi Capitals, says Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar

Mukesh triggered a bidding war in the IPL 2023 auction and Delhi Capitals stayed on course to ensured that they got Mukesh on board for 5.5 crore.

Published : Dec 23, 2022 18:45 IST , MUMBAI

Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar celebrates a dismissal during a Ranji Trophy match against Hyderabad at the Barabati Stadium.
Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar celebrates a dismissal during a Ranji Trophy match against Hyderabad at the Barabati Stadium. | Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar celebrates a dismissal during a Ranji Trophy match against Hyderabad at the Barabati Stadium. | Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

Mukesh Kumar was resting at his hotel room in Bengaluru on Friday afternoon when his phone rang. It was one of his old friends on the other end, and even before Mukesh could start the conversation, his friend hurriedly said, “ Arey yaar, kidhar ho? Jaldi TV Dekho…”

A confused Mukesh switched on the television and was surprised to see a bidding war going on for him in the Indian 1Premier League (IPL) auction in Kochi. While it took a bit of time for Mukesh to understand what was going on, he heard the gavel master Hugh Edmeades announce that he was sold to Delhi Capitals for Rs 5.5 crore.

“It is a good feeling to return to Delhi Capitals. Last season, I was associated with the franchise and know all the members, so it is definitely a good thing,” an excited Mukesh told Sportstar.

With a base price of Rs 20 lakh, not many expected that franchises would go so desperately after the Bengal seamer. But Chennai Super Kings opened the bidding, followed by Delhi Capitals as the bid shot up to Rs 1 crore. And things soon spiced up with Punjab Kings joining the race, but Delhi Capitals stayed on course and ensured that they got Mukesh on board. Last season, he was one of the net bowlers for the Delhi outfit.

“From the beginning, I have kept things simple. Jo cheez hai mere lifemein, wo simple hi hain. I believe in hard work and if you ask anyone in Bengal about me, they would all tell you about my hard work and I want to keep things that way,” Mukesh said.

Hailing from Kakarkund village in Bihar’s Gopalganj district, Mukesh initially found it difficult to pursue cricket as his father late Kashinath Singh wanted him to join the Indian armed forces and given the fact that Bihar Cricket Association was suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) back then, added to the woes. 

In 2012, he shifted to Kolkata to help his father, but soon started playing cricket in the second-rung local leagues. A couple of years later, in 2014, he appeared in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB)’s ‘Vision 2020’ programme, and was spotted by Ranadeb Bose. The trials were conducted by VVS Laxman, Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralitharan and Mukesh impressed Bose, a former fast bowler and now a national junior selector.

In just about a year since the trial, he made it to the Bengal team and his consistent performances over the years earned him an India A call-up against New Zealand A. And, after claiming a five-wicket haul, he received his maiden India call for the ODI series against South Africa earlier this year.

“If I want to achieve something, I genuinely work hard to get that done. From the beginning, it has been a challenging journey, but it feels good when hard work pays off,” he said.

After initially opposing him, Mukesh’s father had slowly started appreciating his efforts as a cricketer. Ahead of the 2019-20 season, Mukesh lost his father. “My father always wanted me to play in the IPL and he would have been really happy today. Everyone wants to play in the IPL, but playing for India is always the priority. Representing the country is a huge thing and nothing makes one prouder than playing for the country,” he said.

Having been with the Delhi Capitals will help. “I have worked with the team and I know everyone, so that will be a plus point for me. It will help me immensely,” he said.

From being just another rookie cricketer from a small town to becoming a talking point in Indian cricket - it has been an incredible journey for Mukesh and as a new challenge awaits him, he wants to perform to the best of his abilities without thinking too much about the price tag.

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