India vs South Africa 4th T20I: There was pressure but credit to Rahul Dravid sir for giving chances to everybody, says Avesh Khan | Cricket News – Times of India

RAJKOT: Soon after he took four for 12, including three wickets in one over, to bundle out South Africa for 87 and shape India’s massive 82-run triumph which helped the hosts come from behind and square the T20I series 2-2 at the SCA Stadium in Khanderi here, pacer Avesh Khan dedicated his career-best T20I performance to his dad Ashique Khan on the latter’s birthday.
Having conceded 87 runs in 11 overs in the first three games, the 25-year-old quick was under pressure, with many questioning his place in the side, asking him to be replaced by pace merchant Umran Malik or Arshdeep Singh in the XI. However, Avesh shut his critics for the time being with a lethal spell, riding on the extra bounce in the wicket to prise out Dwayne Pretorious (0), Rassie Van der Dussen (20), Marco Jansen (12), whom he ‘softened up’ with a blow to his helmet before knocking him off, and Keshav Maharaj (0).


“Yes, I was under a bit of pressure, because I had taken no wickets in the first three games. However, Rahul sir (coach Rahul Dravid) and the team management overall kept their faith in me and played me in today’s match too. I’m feeling very happy. Since it was my dad’s birthday, you can say that he got a small ‘birthday gift’ (from me),” the Madhya Pradesh seamer, who was the highest wicket-taker for Lucknow Super Giants -18 scalps @23.11 (economy rate: 8.72)in 13 games in IPL-2022, said after his heroics here.
Resisting calls for a change, India have played the same XI in all the four games of this series- a policy which has helped someone like Avesh prove himself after his initial failures. The youngster credited India coach Rahul Dravid for sticking to the same outfit despite calls for an alteration, saying that it ultimately helped players like him prove their worth. “As you can see, there have been no changes to the XI in the four games here. So, I’d like to give credit to Rahul sir (coach Rahul Dravid) that he gives a good opportunity to everyone (to prove themselves) because you can’t drop or include a player, or say that he’s a good player, on the basis of performance in one or two games. He’s given all the players enough games to play, so you’ve a good opportunity to prove yourself,” said the Indore lad.


The stiff competition in the pace bowling department in Team India means that even this outstanding show here against a top side might not be enough to guarantee the pace gun a berth in India’s side for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. “See, selection is not my hands, performance is. So, I’ll try to put in 100% effort in whichever games I get to play. Later, I shouldn’t feel that I didn’t give off my 100%, which is why I’m not in the team. If I give off my best, I’ll be satisfied with myself,” stressed the young turk.
Explaining what his game plan was on bowling on the wicket here, which was two-paced and had variable bounce too, Avesh said, “My gameplan is that when we bat first, I always ask our batsmen about how the wicket is playing-whether it’s flat, two-paced or slow. Ishan (Kishan) told me that it’s better that I bowl a ‘hard length’ on this wicket, since some balls are bouncing well, some are keeping a bit low, and some are stopping and coming on to the bat. When our innings got out, my plan was to target the stumps, and bowl a good ‘hard length,’ which I usually do, consistently.”
Unlike Bhuveshwar Kumar, who relies on swing and seam, or Harshal Patel, who foxes batsmen by employing his variations, Avesh’s strength is the pace and bounce that he can generate, which, as was evident on Friday night, can rattle the position batsmen. “See, taking wickets is not in my hands. I always focus on the process, on how I can bowl well. Like, I performed well today, so I will watch my videos with our coaches and try to bowl as well as I can, as there’s always a margin of improvement in your performance. You’ve to look to improve in every game. ”
Before this match, his pace bowling colleague Harshal Patel had said that India’s bowlers prefer to bowl on slower wickets, but Aves averred that he would rather look to adjust his bowling according to the conditions and the pitch. “The wickets or the conditions aren’t in our hands. In Bangalore (venue of the fifth and final game of the series on Sunday), the wicket will be different. The better you adapt your game according to the wicket, the better it is for you. As I said, I always focus on my execution-my ‘hard length,’ yorker, bouncer, and the ‘slower ones’ in between. I look to bowl according to the wicket. For example, on this (Rajkot) wicket, the ‘slower ball’ wasn’t that effective, because my ‘hard length’ was working well on it. So, I was looking to bowl the ‘hard length,’ while slipping in the bouncer in between. So, that was my plan,” he said.

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