‘I am not Bumrah’s replacement’


Madhwal picked a sensational five-wicket haul (5-5) and helped Mumbai Indians thrash Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in the eliminator and move into Qualifier 2 of IPL 2023…reports Asian Lite News

After Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer, who were expected to lead the Mumbai Indians bowling this season, were sidelined with injuries, Akash Madhwal stepped up with his own set of extraordinary performances and was instantly likened as a timely �replacement.

Madhwal picked a sensational five-wicket haul (5-5) and helped Mumbai Indians thrash Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in the eliminator and move into Qualifier 2 of IPL 2023 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday. He had guided Mumbai Indians to the Playoffs with a four-wicket haul in the must-win last league encounter with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede a couple of days ago.

While Bumrah was ruled out of the IPL 2023 ahead of the tournament due to his back issue, Archer returned home mid-way owing to an elbow injury.

When linked as a replacement for the experienced bowlers, Madhwal played down the comparison and said: “I am trying my best to fulfil the responsibilities given to me by the team. I am not Bumrah’s replacement but I’m trying my best to do what I can,” Madhwal said in the post-match presentation after Mumbai Indians registered a 81-run victory against LSG on Wednesday night.

The pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai hasn’t been kind to pacers but Madhwal managed to rubberstamp his authority on it.

“The wicket at Chepauk was good. As you saw, the ball was not gripping but skidding. I am a swing/sling bowler, and I pitched my deliveries in hard lengths aiming for wickets,” Madhwal said.

Madhwal, who was signed as a replacement for injured Suryakumar Yadav in 2022, came close to making his MI debut last year. But despite being unused, he kept training with the team and his efforts earned him a retention for the 2023 campaign.

Speaking of opportunities and how he managed to get retained by MI, the 29-year-old pacer said: “I was given the clarity of my role with the team. I have to continue the process I was following and had the surety that I would get opportunities next season. That w”s very clear.”

Madhwal ventured into professional cricket only five years ago before that he used to play tennis-ball cricket in his home state of Uttarakhand.

Asked what tactics from tennis-ball cricket he implements while bowling with a proper cricket ball in T20 cricket, he said: “Through the tennis ball, I have only learnt how to bowl yorkers and I use that in my bowling today. There is only one way of evading those deliveries.

“If the bowling lengths are pitched a bit high or low, it would gift away boundary — four or six. Thus, I needed to bowl strong yorkers in tennis cricket and that is what I do today with a proper cricket ball.”

Talking about his meteoric rise, Madhwal said: “I have been with Uttarakhand Cricket Association ever since they got affiliation with the BCCI in 2018. In 2019, I was a net bowler with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Later on, I joined Mumbai Indians and started out as a net bowler again. Fast forward to today, I am getting the opportunity to play in the team.”

Mumbai Indians will next meet Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2 on May 26 for a place in the final against Chennai Super Kings.

Praises Pour in

Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan lavished praise on Mumbai Indians pacer Akash Madhwal for putting up such a scintillating show in a high-stakes encounter and said he never saw an uncapped player dominating a high-pressure game.

Pathan said the Uttarakhand seamer deserves all the credit for taking Mumbai Indians (MI) to Qualifier 2.

After their batters chipped in with valuable contributions to guide Mumbai Indians to an above-par 181/8 on a spin-friendly Chepauk track, Madhwal, ran-riot through LSG batters and as the Krunal Pandya-led side succumbed under pressure to get bowled out for 101 in the Eliminator and MI moved into Qualifier 2.

“We have never seen an uncapped player dominate in a high-pressure game. Akash Madhwal has picked up nine wickets in the last two games. He deserves all the credit for taking MI to the Qualifier 2,” Pathan said on Start Sports’ Cricket Live show.

Former India cricketer Mohammed Kaif also lauded the right-arn quick for the mastery of his craft and control over the cricket ball.

“Akash Madhwal bowls hard length. His bowling style resembles Mohd Shami and gets the zip off the surface. What a player he has been for Mumbai Indians lately. He’s looked like a mature bowler with every game he’s played,” Kaif said.

Former India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) cricketer Suresh Raina hailed pacer Akash Madhwal’s sensational 5-5 haul, saying he hadn’t seen a bowling performance like this since the inception of the tournament in 2008.

“What’s best was that he got a chance to bowl with the new ball. They trusted him after he bowled well at the Wankhede. All credit should go to his coaching staff. His run-up is great. I haven’t seen a bowling performance like this since 2008. He’s an uncapped player who hasn’t even played much, but taking five wickets in a Qualifier? Sensational performance,” Raina was quoted as saying by JioCinema.

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