Former Kolkata Knight Riders team director Joy Bhattacharjya recalled Mukesh Kumar’s road to India selection and how the quick bowler once completely wowed Pakistani bowling legend, Waqar Younis.
In addition to the current Irani Cup game, Mukesh has collected 113 wickets in 31 first-class games and 17 wickets in 18 List-A games with an economy rate of 5.17. In recent years, he is one of the select few cricketers to be selected for India’s limited-overs team without taking part in the IPL.
The BCCI did not choose any members of the T20 World Cup team for the three-match ODI series against South Africa that gets underway Thursday in Lucknow. Shikhar Dhawan will be in charge of the team, which is largely identical to the one he led in the West Indies a few months ago, but there are two new players on the roster: Rajat Patidar and Mukesh Kumar, who have both been in outstanding form on the local circuit.
Former Kolkata Knight Riders squad director Joy Bhattacharjya recalled the latter’s trip to India selection and how Mukesh once completely wowed Pakistani bowling legend, Waqar Younis.
In his interview with Cricbuzz before the start of the ODI series, Joy recalled a story from the “Vision 2020” campaign that BCCI President and former joint-secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal, Sourav Ganguly, had launched to aid young Bengal players in receiving exposure and elite coaching.
Mukesh Kumar is an amazing player: Joy Bhattacharjya
He remembered that Mukesh was a member of the group and had impressed Joydeep Mukherjee, a former Bengal cricket player, at the preliminary hearings before winning over Waqar the following day during the formal hearings.
“He is an amazing player and the back story is just as fascinating. He is from Gopalganj. His father wanted him to join the Central Reserve Police Force. He tried three times and didn’t get in. But the best story was related to me by the director of CAB.
“Waqar Younis was set to come to Kolkata to have a look at players and there was a pre-trial held just to identify some of the players,” Joy said.
“After the trial was over, this one kid walks up to Joydeep and says, ‘Will you allow me to bowl just one ball in the nets’. Mukesh Kumar didn’t get a chance to bowl because there were so many other players and he was from no club.”
“He bowls that one ball, he likes him and is asked to bowl another and Joydeep thinks this kid has something in him. The next day, Joydeep has some work and Waqar did the complete assessment and said, ‘This is the only guy…he’s the best guy playing.”