Off The Field

Till I played Ranji, father didn’t think I was good: Mukesh Kumar after India call up

Written by Sumit Seth

Bengal fast bowler Mukesh Kumar received a maiden India call up for the ODI series against South Africa, beginning October 6. But he didn’t know about his selection until he was added to the India team’s WhatsApp group.

After realising that the door to India team has opened, Mukesh recalled his father’s face and his words. The 28-year-old lost his father to brain stroke before the Ranji finals.

“I got very emotional. It was all blur. I could only remember my father late Kashi Nath Singh’s face. My father till I played Ranji Trophy for Bengal didn’t think I am good enough to do well professionally. Unko Shaq thaa ki main kaabil hoon bhi ya nahi,” Mukesh told PTI.

Mukesh, who is playing for Rest of India in Rajkot, added: “Today my mom had tears in her eyes. She was so emotional. Everyone at home started crying.”

Mukesh had appeared for CRPF exams thrice after his graduation as his father wanted him to get a government job. Although not in CRPF, he is now employed with CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General office) for being a first-class cricketer.

He recently took a five-wicket haul in the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A and a four-fer on the first day of the Irani Cup.

“Aapke haathon ki Kalakari Bhagwan ki den hai, lekin unka diya huwa ashirwad pe mehnat nahi karoge toh kuch nahi hoga. (You can have God’s gift but what you do with that is upto you),” he said. “Life is all about learning and it never stops. My endeavour would be to ensure that till I play cricket, I should never stop learning.”

Mukesh further revealed the advise he received from his India A coach VVS Laxman, who was also his mentor at Bengal a few seasons back.

“Laxman sir told me that Mukesh whatever lengths you bowl for Bengal and how you set up batters, just replicate that consistently. I just followed his instructions,” he added.

Most of Mukesh’s exploits have come in red ball but has an economy rate of 5.25 in List A where he has 17 scalps from 18 games. He, however, stressed: “Basics remain the same. Even with white kookaburra, you need to pitch it up to top order and with old ball hit hard lengths and bowl cutters.”

About the author

Sumit Seth