UPDATED: May 25, 2023 07:38 IST
By India Today Sports Desk: Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer, who were supposed to be the main bowlers for Mumbai Indians in this IPL season, were sidelined due to injuries. In their absence, Akash Madhwal stepped up with his exceptional performances, taking a five-wicket haul to help MI thrash Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator by 81 runs.
When linked as a replacement for experienced bowlers, Madhwal played down the comparison by saying that he is trying to do what he can and making the most of his opportunities. While Bumrah was ruled out of the IPL 2023 ahead of the tournament due to his back issue, Archer returned home mid-way owing to an elbow injury.
IPL Eliminator: LSG vs MI Highlights
“I am trying my best to fulfill the responsibilities given to me by the team. I am not Bumrah’s replacement but I’m trying my best to do what I can,” Madhwal said in the post-match press conference. “Whatever opportunities come your way, you should grab it and make the most of it.”
Madhwal, who was signed on as a replacement for the injured Suryakumar Yadav in 2022, came close to make his debut last season but eventually remained on the bench. He continued to train and proved himself to be retained for the 2023 campaign. The 29-year-old pacer opened up on his role, saying: “I was given clarity of my role with the team. I have to continue the process I was following and had the surety that I would get opportunities next season. That was very clear.”
Mumbai Indians posted 182/8 thanks to Nehal Wadhera’s late hitting after Cameron Green and Suryakumar Yadav accelerated in the middle overs. Lucknow Super Giants’ run chase fell apart as Madhwal picked up wickets at regular intervals to finish with 5/5 in 3.3 overs.
Talking about the wicket in Chepauk during the Eliminator, Madhwal said: “The wicket at Chepauk was good. As you saw, the ball was not gripping but skidding. I am a swing/sling bowler, and I pitched my deliveries in hard lengths aiming for wickets.”
When asked about his tactics, Madhwal, who started his journey with tennis-ball cricket in Uttarakhand, revealed that he learned to bowl yorkers through tennis ball and tried to emulate the same strategy against LSG. Mumbai Indians will next meet Gujarat Titans in the Qualifier 2 on May 26.
“Through the tennis ball, I have only learnt how to bowl yorkers and I use that in my bowling today. There is only one way of evading those deliveries. If the bowling lengths are pitched a bit high or low, it would gift away boundary fours or sixes. Thus, I needed to bowl strong yorkers in tennis cricket and that is what I do today with a proper cricket ball,” Madhwal said.