Akash Madhwal: How Uttarakhand transformed a tennis ball cricketer | Cricket News – Times of India

CAU gave ‘fickle-minded’ MI pacer free hand and captaincy to bring focus in his bowling
NEW DELHI: Akash Madhwal‘s emergence has come as a pain-reliever for Mumbai Indians when they were reeling due to the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and an off-colour Jofra Archer. On Sunday afternoon in a must-win game, his ability to hurl impeccable yorkers in the death overs helped MI restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to an under-par score on a placid Wankhede pitch with a spell of 4/37.
It has been a major transition for Madhwal from being an engineer to a tennis-ball cricketer from Roorkee to a dependable IPL pacer at the age of 29 in a matter of four years. His journey started when he just turned up for trials organized by the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand. Former India opener Wasim Jaffer was the coach then and picked him in the state side. He got a couple of games and was benched.

Former Services pacer Manish Jha took over as Uttarakhand coach during the 2020-21 domestic season and started working on his mind which lacked the ability to focus. “He had raw talent with a fickle mind. He would try to bowl too many variations because he watched bowlers do that on TV. The first thing we had to do was to get him to focus. I told him to just bowl fast and not think about leaking runs. We gave him the assurance that he would play all the matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy matches,” Jha told TOI on Sunday.
While Madhwal would still sway from the team’s plans, CAU decided to give him more responsibility the following season.

“CAU secretary Mahim Verma backed him. We sat him down and told him we were giving him captaincy of the T20 team. He became responsible from there. He always had good yorkers at pace but his tendency to bowl too many different types of bowls hurt him. As a captain, he realized he couldn’t take chances and stuck to his strengths. He always had a good temperament because tennis-ball cricket is very intense and competitive,” Jha said.

Jha reckons Madhwal didn’t take much time to adapt to the leather ball. “He is an engineer by qualification. He picked up the nuances really fast. He doesn’t have his father and his family wasn’t financially stable. Akash always listened to what was told to him and was driven to succeed. With the red ball, he hasn’t nailed it yet because he needs to figure the right length with his deliveries that skid off the pitch,” Jha said.

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