Five months ago, Bengal speed gun Akash Deep finished as one of the top wicket-takers (35) for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy. Since then, he has been quietly training in his village in Bihar. The COVID-19-induced lockdown did not offer enough opportunities to bowl in full tilt.
Come September, Akash will be bowling to international stars such as Steve Smith and Jos Buttler. Rajasthan Royals chose the 23-year-old as one of the net bowlers who will travel to the UAE for IPL 2020.
His Bengal team-mate Sayan Ghosh — who is a T20 specialist — will bowl at Kings XI Punjab nets. The duo has been promised 50 per cent of the amount with which they had registered themselves in the auction pool.
Both the pacers had a base price of Rs 20 lakh and it is expected that they will receive at least Rs 10 lakh for their services in three months.
“The talk of a contract with Rajasthan Royals was on for a long time but they could not pick me in the auction. This time, they spoke to Joydeep Mukherjee (Director of Cricket, Cricket Association of Bengal) and were interested to keep me in the side as a net bowler.
“There can be chances of getting into the side as well. If someone gets injured or is unavailable, it may open doors. We will get Rs 10 lakh or maybe more, or less; but that doesn’t matter, the experience does. I hope to learn a few tricks from Jofra Archer,” Akash told Sportstar on Tuesday.
The youngster is confident that he will not be intimidated by the superstars. “I have a natural instinct that whenever I see a good player, I get confidence to do even better. I don’t focus on who is batting. I just try to concentrate on what I can do to improve my game.”
Ghosh, who is from the Nadia district in West Bengal, is renowned for his sling action. He is difficult to read and is often referred to as ‘Chakdah’s Malinga’.
Having warmed the bench at Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils in the past, he has a bit of IPL experience too.
He wasn’t getting to bowl as well. The IPL nets will offer the chance.
“I did not have enough preparation due to the pandemic. I was working on fitness but I wanted to bowl a bit more before the domestic season. So this is a good opportunity,” said Ghosh, who has been hopping across grounds to get some bowling practice.
“I am always on the lookout. I recently bowled at the Mohun Bagan ground and then, at Tollygunge Agragami. We will receive 50 per cent of what our base price was in the auction but beyond that, this is a big chance,” he added.
Ghosh also thanked Mukherjee for backing him. “It is all because of him that this happened.”
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