Kumar Kartikeya
Kumar Kartikeya. Image: BCCI Domestic/Twitter

The 24-year-old Madhya Pradesh left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya has said that he has achieved somewhat he had expected but he is still far away from his ultimate destination.

Madhya Pradesh spinner Kumar Kartikeya is having a terrific run in the year 2022 as he joined 5-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians (MI) as a replacement player in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 and he picked up 5 wickets in 4 games. Also, he played a key role in Madhya Pradesh’s first-ever Ranji Trophy victory.

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Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh beat Mumbai by six wickets in the Ranji Trophy 2022 final. Image: Twitter

While speaking to cricket.com days after MP’s Ranji Trophy win, Kumar Kartikeya said that he has reached a stage where people have started to recognise him.

“Yes, whatever I had expected, I’ve achieved somewhat. I’ve not yet reached where I ultimately want to, but I’ve come to a certain stand, where people recognise me now,” Kartikeya said.

He further talked about learning new variations from other bowlers by looking at their bowling footage and said that he has learnt from the likes of Sunil Narine, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Akila, and Rashid Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa and others.

“In the T20 game, if I bowl normal left-arm spin, there is a greater chance of being hit. But if I bowl deliveries that batsmen can’t read which way it’s turning, then it’s not so easy to hit. I’ve seen Sunil Narine, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Akila Dananjaya I developed this after seeing them,” the bowler explained.

“I learned the carrom ball from Mujeeb, the googly from Dananjaya and Rashid Khan. Watching Chahal bhai and Adam Zampa helped me pick up leg-spin, and the flipper was taught to me by Narendra Hirwani sir. He was around the MP team. I wasn’t able to bowl it, he spent only five minutes with me and gave me three-four options. One of them fit, and my googly began to spin. Earlier it didn’t spin. He’s a different level coach when it comes to bowling,” he further added.

I have one thing, with regards to bowling my mind is sharp – Kumar Kartikeya

Kumar Kartikeya IPL Debut ( Image Credits: IPL)
Kumar Kartikeya ( Image Credits: IPL)

Kumar Kartikeya further talked about learning a lot of variations and said that he had doubts that the new variations would spoil his traditional left-arm spin. He added that his coach Sanjay Bharadwaj had a chat with him regarding this matter and his fear went away.

“I have one thing, with regards to bowling my mind is sharp. I can pick some things up very quickly. I spoke to my coach, Sanjay Bharadwaj sir, also several times, because at the back of my mind I did have doubts that if I try these variations, it could spoil my left-arm spin. But my coach told me that ‘Left-arm spin is in your blood. You’ve been bowling it for ten years. If you bowl leg-spin for a couple of months, nothing will change. So if you think you can bowl it, do it,” he said.

“When he told me that, I felt more secure. Earlier when I used to practice this on the ground, several people told me not to do it, that my left-arm spin will get ruined. They said I’m established in the Ranji Trophy team, why did I want to try this?”

Kumar Kartikeya credited his coach Bharadwaj for his success in cricket and said that whatever he has become it’s because of his coach. He added that he had struggled a lot when he came to Delhi but after meeting Sanjay Bharadwaj things changed.

“From the time I’m playing cricket, whatever I am it’s because of him. He took care of my stay, my food, everything. I struggled a lot when I came to Delhi, but when I went to him, I only had to concentrate on playing cricket. He ended the rest of my struggles,” Kartikeya revealed.

“The first day I met him, he told me that whatever expenses I had, shoes, clothes, whatever is needed for your cricket, I will provide. I started weeping who does this in Delhi? He said, you just think that I’m like your father. I got very emotional then. Since I had come to Delhi, everyone just wanted to take from me. ‘Give me this much and I’ll do this for you’. He spoke only about giving. I felt so nice. Even now, where he stands for me, nobody else does. He is everything for me,” he concluded.

Kartikeya Kumar of Mumbai Indians
Kartikeya Kumar of Mumbai Indians poses for a photograph during a portrait session at the team hotel, in Mumbai on 27th April 2022
Photo: Pal Pillai/Focus Sports/ MI

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Sonanchal Gautam is the Assistant Content Manager at Cricketaddictor. He is a professional Wrestling and Hip-hop enthusiast.