Pace bowler Avesh Khan, who has been included as stand-by in the India squad for the Test tour of England and will travel with the team, says his performance in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) has provided him a lot of confidence.
"I played all the matches [for Delhi Capitals] this time, so I was definitely feeling very confident. I bowled very well. The team also won matches. We were at the top of the table so I was feeling very confident," Khan, who picked 14 wickets in eight matches, told IANS.
Khan was second, along with Chris Morris, in the race for Purple Cap, awarded to the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. The IPL was, however, postponed at the halfway stage after the IPL bio-bubble burst and four teams were impacted by Coronavirus.
"I got responsibility and I utilised it very well. I bowled at every stage – with the new ball, middle-overs and death overs. The team's coaches and captain gave me lot of confidence so whatever situation I got I did really well every time," said Avesh.
The 24-year-old right-arm pacer played in all eight of DC's matches this season. Across the last four editions – from 2017 to 2020, he was played in only nine matches.
The Indore-based Khan, who represents Madhya Pradesh in domestic cricket, has been doing well in first-class cricket. He has 100 wickets in 26 first-class games. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s this season, he picked 14 wickets in five matches to be third in the list of wicket-takers.
Khan picked 28 wickets in five Ranji Trophy matches in the 2019-20 season; this season the tournament was cancelled due to Covid-19. Prior to that, in 2018-19, he picked 35 wickets in seven matches.
Khan was the highest wicket-taker for MP in both the seasons. While there were other bowlers from other states who took more wickets, Avesh's rich haul came in limited number of matches. The 2020-21 season did not happen.
"I have been doing well in domestic cricket over the past two seasons, but IPL has got me into limelight. In Mushtaq Ali too this year, I have 14 wickets in five matches," said the tall pace bowler who was picked as a net bowler for the Test series against England.
Asked if switching from T20 mode to Test mode will be tough and what changes he expects to make to his bowling, Avesh said, "Consistency on good length area is important there. The more I do that, the better it will be. Test match is about patience. The more you bowl with patience in good length area the better it will be."
Khan feels the confidence gained in IPL helps players. "Confidence in IPL helps. If you do well there, your confidence goes up. Focus improves and importantly, you learn to do well under pressure. We get the belief that we can do well at the international level, in Test matches too," he said.
"DC coach Ricky Ponting asked me to bowl with focus and give 100%. It helped with Rishabh as captain of DC, have played with him before. Whatever mistakes there were in the match, we [Rishabh and Khan] used to discuss after the match," said the bowler.
Khan hired a dietician recently, before England's tour of India, during which he was called up as a net bowler.
"I have hired a dietician for fitness, and I have lost weight. I have controlled my eating habit a bit. Every day Sooraj [the dietician] gives me different diet. The day I rest, the diet is different from the day I practice. Then, the match-day diet is different. That has helped me," he says.