Bangalore: Shivil Kaushik, the chinaman bowler who was one of the talking points of the Indian Premier League 2016 where he contributed his bit in helping Gujarat Lions make it to the play-offs in their maiden season, will be travelling to England to play for Hull Cricket Club in the Yorkshire League.
Kaushik, who is waiting for the visa formalities to be completed, will play four-day, 50-over and Twenty20 matches for the club before returning to India in September for the Karnataka Premier League.
“They saw me playing in IPL and contacted Makarand (Waingankar) sir to see if I can go and play for them,” Kaushik told Wisden India. “This is the first time I am going outside India, and I am looking forward to the experience.”
Kaushik said that he was keen to take up the offer as it gives him a chance to master the art of bowling with a wet ball. “I have heard that the ball gets wet very early in the morning there and stays that way through the day. I am looking forward to bowling with the wet ball because it is a new challenge,” he elaborated. “If I can learn how to bowl with the wet ball then I can use those lessons next time I am bowling in IPL and there is dew in the ground. If you haven’t practiced bowling with the wet ball, it can be difficult in big match situations.”
Kaushik’s confidence was high after playing seven IPL games, but he was at the receiving end when Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers put on a T20-record stand of 229 runs for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Gujarat at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Kaushik finished with 0 for 50 in three overs, of which Kohli took 30 runs in the 19th over of the innings.
Looking back, Kaushik was thankful that the support structure at the franchise allowed him to absorb the shock well. “Bowling to international batsmen at IPL has taught me how to tackle situations and not to take anything for granted,” he said. “T20 is such a fast-moving game that one bad over can affect your analysis and the team’s chances. So, you should keep pressing towards making every ball count.
“They (the team management) were very supportive. They said it was not that it was bad bowling, but very good batting. Someday, you can’t do anything when players are in that zone,” added Kaushik, also speaking about the encouragement he received from the likes of Brad Hodge, Heath Streak and Brendon McCullum. “It is something you should not keep thinking about much. Instead, you should appreciate the fact that being a spinner you were bold enough to accept the offer to bowl the 19th over. We are always going to back you no matter what because you are a match-winner. That’s what they said to me.”
Dr Samir Pathak, a surgeon and a former England Universities wicketkeeper-batsman, has facilitated Kaushik’s stint with Hull, a century-old club, through his international sporting exchange scheme, initiated in 2012. Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan were among the first beneficiaries of this programme followed by Ramakrishnan Natarajan.
Meanwhile, Prasidh Krishna and David Mathias, who both made their first-class debuts for Karnataka last season, have been selected by the KSCA-IDBI bowling foundation to train under Jeff Thomson at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
The duo, along with Tushar Deshpande and Minad Manjrekar, who have been selected from the MCA-IDBI bowling foundation, will be travelling to Australia on June 25 for a three-week programme.
Krishna’s only first-class game was against Bangladesh A when he took five scalps in the first innings, and contributed in a four-wicket win. Mathias has played two first-class games, one List A match and four T20s.
Deshpande made his T20 debut for Mumbai in 2015-16, and Manjrekar took 37 wickets to help Mumbai Under-19 make it to the Cooch Behar Trophy final, where they lost to Uttar Pradesh Under-19.
Krishna said it has been excellent working with Thomson, who is the head coach of both IDBI foundations, and was looking forward to spending more time with him in Australia.
“He (Thomson) has given us the confidence and imbibed the attitude of a fast bowler. He said if you are bowling, you should bowl to take wickets, and bowl quick, use the bouncer and have aggressive body language,” Krishna told Wisden India. “Technically, my left arm was blocking my view as it was coming in front of my face. He asked me to straighten it more. After having that, my pace has increased and I am more in control.
“I am very keen to learn the different techniques Australian fast bowlers use, their training methods,” added Krishna, who has spent time with Glenn McGrath at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai and is a fan of Brett Lee. “I want to go with a fresh mind without any expectations, and absorb as much I can.”
Mathias too was looking forward to make the most out of the trip. “I was not using my left hand a lot, and Jeff thought I could get more out of my run-up and jump than I am doing currently. We have worked on those things here, and I want to build on them when in Australia,” he said.
“I have heard a lot about the fast and bouncy Australian pitches and the strong fast bowling culture there, just like we have here in Karnataka,” added Mathias. “My aim is to earn as much bowling time as I can, make use of the facilities and the coaching staff and return for the home season stronger and fitter.”
The IDBI initiative is a first of its kind, but it is not the first time that Indian cricketers are going on an exchange programme to the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. The Border-Gavaskar scholarship programme, which was a joint initiative of Cricket Australia and Board of Control for Cricket in India, was introduced in 2000 before being cancelled in 2011 because of financial issues. Mohammad Kaif, Shiv Sundar Das and S Sriram were the first batch of candidates in 2000, and the illustrious list includes the likes of Gautam Gambhir, L Balaji, Parthiv Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Abhimanyu Mithun and Bhuvneshwar Kumar among others.
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