Faster & Fitter: Avesh Khan Steps Up to Lead Delhi Pace Battery

Avesh has been an important player for Delhi so far with Ponting saying that he looked in better shape than before.

4 min read
Avesh Khan has been instrumental in Delhi Capitals’ early success in IPL 2021. 

Even though Kagiso Rabada is taking his time to get going for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021, head coach Ricky Ponting has the young Avesh Khan to bank on. Seven matches so far have yielded 13 wickets, his best in the glitzy world of the IPL, including the dream scalp of former India captain MS Dhoni.

Since he had Dhoni chopping it on to his own stumps, Avesh has gone on to bag the wickets of Faf du Plessis, Suryakumar Yadav, and Virat Kohli, and more recently Shubman Gill, giving Delhi a fair bit of fire power with the ball.


In what is his first proper run in the IPL, Avesh, after seven games, stands seven wickets clear of Delhi’s best bowler up until now – Amit Mishra.

Avesh has been an important cog in the wheel for Delhi so far with Ponting saying that he looked in better shape than before.

“He has been ultra-impressive, pretty much from the first day we arrived here for the training camp. Physically, he looks a little bit better, he lost a little bit of weight from last season. He is definitely fitter and bowling faster. He is able to maintain his action better. His lines and lengths and slower ball execution is excellent so far,” Ponting had said early in the season.

Avesh Khan dismisses MS Dhoni in IPL 2021. 
Avesh Khan dismisses MS Dhoni in IPL 2021. 
Image: BCCI

The Early Years

The right arm fast bowler was part of the 2016 U-19 World Cup squad led by Ishan Kishan with the likes of Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar part of the mix, that finished runner-up against West Indies. He burst onto the scene finishing as India’s best bowler with 12 wickets to his name, picking one wicket in the final as well.

Avesh’s journey began as a teenager in Indore where former India cricketer Amay Khurasiya was mighty impressed and asked the Madhya Pradesh Association to allow him for trials for the U-16 side.

An impressive Avesh got picked and a 17-day camp followed, from where Avesh did not look back.

One of the very few to have been part of two U-19 World Cups, Avesh played two games in 2014 before returning to the stage as a more mature bowler couple of years later. By the time the 2016 World Cup came around, Avesh had made his debut in first class cricket for his state.

In the next few years, Avesh went on to debut for Madhya Pradesh in white ball cricket alongside joining the RCB camp in 2017. Before his Vijay Hazare debut, Avesh moved to Delhi in the IPL (2018, January) and celebrated the move by finishing as the highest wicket-taker for his state in the Ranji Trophy in the 2018/19 season.

The fast bowler stuck to his guns and put in the hard yards till he got the nod over Umesh Yadav from Ponting, which started off another storied chapter in his short career.

Avesh Khan celebrates a wicket against Rajasthan Royals. 
Avesh Khan celebrates a wicket against Rajasthan Royals. 
Image: BCCI

The Struggles

Avesh’s run up to the top level has seen him leap over quite a few hurdles with aplomb. The bowler’s formative years were quite difficult as he and his family struggled.

Avesh’s father Mohd Ashique Khan had a small paan shop by the roadside in Indore, which local authorities brought down to widen the road.

However, Avesh’s father was passionate about cricket and despite the heartbreak supported his son to the hilt.

And just as he was making his mark in junior cricket, the burden of a loan came on the family, followed by a very timely call-up for the U-19 World Cup in 2014.

Soon though life turned a corner for Avesh, as Delhi came calling with a contract of Rs 70 lakh in January of 2018.

“My mother always said, I have to ensure that money earned is spent properly. Mujhe ghar ka dekhna hai especially after my father lost his gumti and there is no fixed job. My father never allows me to buy a fancy car or fancy clothes. Once, I bought jeans for 4000 rupees, and he said ‘paisa aaram se kharch karo’. For a middle-class family, every penny counts. I still have a scooter which I use for going to practice, sab bolte hain ‘car le le’, mein baat taal deta hoon. Even during Eid, we don’t spend much. My family says first I need to get stable in life,” he had told The Indian Express.

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