Mukesh Kumar: Taxi driver’s son who took Bengal to Ranji final
Written by Shamik Chakrabarty
| Kolkata |

Published: March 4, 2020 2:05:04 am

Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar’s picked six wickets in opposition to Karnataka within the Ranji Trophy semifinal. (Source: Twitter/BCCIdomestic)

Mukesh Kumar’s father, Kashinath, was a taxi driver in Kolkata, when his youngest son was rising up in Bihar’s Gopalganj district. On November 28 final 12 months, forward of Bengal’s Ranji Trophy opener in opposition to Kerala, Kashinath handed away. Kumar’s best hour in first-class cricket but naturally had unhappiness combined with pleasure. “Yeh six wickets papa ke liye hai (I dedicate this six-wicket haul to my father),” Kumar advised The Indian Express after his six-wicket haul within the second innings took Bengal previous heavyweights Karnataka and into the 14th Ranji Trophy final, their first since 2006-07.

Kumar, alongside together with his fast-bowling mates Ishan Porel and Akash Deep, dismantled Karnataka for 177 for a 174-run victory. They absolutely capitalised after Anustup Majumdar took Bengal to 312 within the first innings with an unbeaten 149. The hosts had been gasping at 67/6 at one stage. Then Porel starred with a five-wicket haul because the guests’ celebrated batting line-up was bundled out for 122. The 190-run lead proved decisive regardless of Bengal managing solely 161 of their second innings.

In 2015, when Kumar was chosen for Bengal for the Buchi Babu event, he didn’t have a cricket package. “Manoj bhaiya mereko bat, pad aur gloves diya tha (Manoj Tiwary gave me a bat, leg guards and gloves),” the medium-pacer recalled. A 12 months beforehand, when Kumar had been drafted into the Cricket Association Bengal’s (CAB) Vision 2020 programme, he didn’t have correct bowling boots. “Rana da (Bengal team bowling coach Ranadeb Bose) ne Debu da (CAB joint secretary and Town Club official Debabrata Das) ko bol kar woh arrange kiya tha (Rana da requested Debu da to arrange it for me).”

READ | Bengal in Ranji final, at express pace

The 26-year-old’s six wickets in Karnataka’s second innings included Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, and Devdutt Padikkal. His technique in opposition to Pandey was clear. “The idea was to bowl full in the channel and confuse him by mixing outswingers and inswingers. Whenever he came forward, there was a gap between bat and pad and my plan was to keep him confused. I was determined not to pitch it short and give him room to play the pull and hook.”

Pandey finally fell to an away-goer however even in defeat the Karnataka star was gracious. “Every time I beat him,” Kumar mentioned, ‘well bowled.’”

Kumar favored taking part in native T20 matches as a result of each sport gave him Rs 400-500. In 2011-12, when he joined the second division ICI Club, he received uninterested in the league’s multi-day format and stopped turning up after a couple of matches. “Mein yehi socha ki utna time ka cricket kaun khelega. T20 hi accha hai (I thought who would play a cricket match that lasted so long. T20 is the best thing).”

Bengal seamers (L-R) Mukesh Kumar, Ishan Porel and Akash Deep after their semifinal win in opposition to Karnataka. (Source: Cricket Association of Bengal)

Things modified after he received into the Vision 2020 programme. His father gave him one 12 months. Without passable progress, he had to give up cricket and seek for a job. “Mein bahut mehnat kiya. Ek saal mein mere ko yeh prove karna hi tha ki mera cricket mein future hai (I worked my socks off. I had one year and I had to prove I have a future in cricket).”

Along the way in which, two glorious items of recommendation furthered Kumar’s profession. The first one got here from a mali (grounds workers) at Kalighat Club. “Mein pahele Kalighat Club mein gaya tha khelne keliye. Toh, woh mereko bola, ‘yahan pe start karoge toh zindagi bhar pani hi pilate rahoge’ (I went to Kalighat Club and he told me, ‘if you start here you would be carrying drinks all your life). He advised me to try my luck at a smaller club.”

The subsequent piece of recommendation got here from then Vision 2020 quick bowling guide, Pakistan nice Waqar Younis. “At the camp, I wasn’t consistent with my line and Waqar Younis told me to bowl from close to the stumps to get rid of the problem. It helped me a lot,” Kumar recalled.

With 30 wickets from 9 matches, Kumar is the best wicket-taker for Bengal, together with Akash Deep and Shahbaz Ahmed, on this Ranji marketing campaign. He credited head coach Arun Lal for conducting a gruelling pre-season that raised the workforce’s collective health stage.

Brief scores: Bengal 312 and 161 beat Karnataka 122 and 177 (Devdutt Padikkal 62; Mukesh Kumar 6/61) by 174 runs

Saha included

Meanwhile, Wriddhiman Saha has been included within the 16-member Bengal squad for the final. He will play because the wicketkeeper, whereas Shreevats Goswami shall be a specialist batsman.

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