India pacer Avesh Khan felt the pressure after going wicket-less in the first three games but said head coach Rahul Dravid’s faith in him pushed him to come up with a match-winning performance in the fourth T20I.
Avesh relied on the hard lengths to end up with career-best figures of four for 18 in his young international career.
Despite losses in the first two games, India did not change the playing eleven.
Clinical win for #TeamIndia in Rajkot! 👏 👏
The @RishabhPant17-led unit beat South Africa by 82 runs to level the series 2-2. 🙌 🙌
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 17, 2022
“The team hasn’t changed over four games, so credit to Rahul (Dravid) sir. He gives chances to everybody and intends to give them a long enough run,” Avesh said at the media interaction on Friday night.
“He doesn’t drop a player after one or two bad performances because you cannot judge a player on the basis of one or two games. Everyone is getting enough matches to prove themselves.
“Yes, there was pressure on me. I had zero wickets in three games but Rahul sir and the team management gave me another opportunity today and I ended up picking four wickets. It’s also my papa’s birthday, so it’s a gift for him too.” The 25-year-old decided on his game plan to bowl on what was a tricky pitch after a chat with opener Ishan Kishan.
“Whenever we are batting first, I always end up asking the batters how the wicket played, whether it was two-paced or not.
“I spoke to Ishan (Kishan) today and he said that hard length balls aren’t easy to play; some are bouncing, some are stopping and the others are keeping low. Then I planned to attack the stumps and bowl the hard lengths consistently. It’s in my hands to bowl well, not pick wickets.
“The slower ball wasn’t very effective on today’s wicket, so I tried to bowl hard lengths with the occasional bouncer to change things up.” India did well to reach 169 for six after a poor start, thanks to Dinesh Karthik’s career-best 55 off 27 balls.
“Today’s wicket wasn’t easy for batters, it was two-paced although DK bhai, Hardik and Rishabh all played well. 170 was a very good total on this wicket and all we wanted to ensure was pick a couple of wickets in the powerplay,” Avesh added.
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Only six games old in international cricket, the fast bowler from Indore is way down in the pecking order and is getting his chances since the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami are not part of the series.
Asked about his chances to make the T20 World Cup squad, he said: “Selection is not in my control. I just want to give my 100 percent every game I get to play for India. I don’t want to have any regrets over the effort I put in my performances.”