Akash Madhwal, Mumbai Indians’ newest find, was seen at his best in the Eliminator of IPL 2023. Facing a formidable batting unit of Lucknow Super Giants, Madhwal conceded just five runs whilst picking up as many wickets, which sees him equaling Anil Kumble’s record of the most economical fifer in IPL.
An engineering graduate, Madhwal was working a white-collar job, not very long ago. Albeit, his heart knew nothing but an unquenched thirst to pursue his dream of becoming a professional cricketer, eventually taking him to a trail camp organised by the then newly formed Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU).
Impressed by his bowling, Wasim Jaffer took the courageous decision of roping a tennis-ball player into the state team. The start might not have been as bright as his future currently looks, but he retained his place in the Uttarakhand team, and a few years down the line, became their white-ball skipper.
Speaking on his transition from engineering to cricket, Madhwal said in the post-match presentation “I have been practising a lot and waiting for my opportunity. I have done engineering, but cricket is my passion and I have been waiting for this since 2018.”
Now amongst Mumbai Indians’ most prized assets, Madhwal’s IPL journey started with Royal Challengers Bangalore, when the franchise called him to be a net bowler in 2019. An opportunity to be a name on the squad sheet, however, never arrived.
Message from Mumbai Indians' Management
Initially roped in as a net bowler by Mumbai Indians as well, he was included in the squad when Suryakumar Yadav sustained an injury, during the business end of IPL 2022.
Last year, I signed when only a couple of matches were remaining. I got a clear message from the management – they said I was doing well and that’s the reason behind my inclusion in the team, but I won’t be getting chances that year itself, and need to wait for the next season.Akash Madhwal
Elaborating on his experience as a net bowler, the Roorkee-born cricketer further added “It is not that you don’t get chances as a net bowler. They organise practice matches where you need to showcase your potential. Moreover, you get to stay with the main team, the franchise takes care of all of your needs. Just that one needs to be ready to grab any chance that arrives.”
Credit to Rohit Sharma for Calmness
Had all of Mumbai Indians’ main chips been fit and firing, perhaps, Akash Madhwal would have remained an obscure name, known to only a few who follow the domestic circuit keenly. Yet, as destiny would have it, Jasprit Bumrah’s injury opened unchartered avenues for him.
Speaking on the onus of filling the gigantic shoes of Bumrah, Madhwal said “I know it is a big responsibility, and I also know that I can’t take Jasprit Bumrah’s place. My only aim is to do all that I can for my team.” Despite playing in his maiden season, the pacer has never let nerves get the better of him. Although, he believes it is a result of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy and not his composure.
“Credit for that must be given to Rohit bhaiya, not me (for his calmness). He keeps me calm and uses my overs exactly when they are required. He knows all about my strengths. As for me, I am just enjoying my cricket. I left my job to play cricket, simply because when you are doing something you are passionate about, you’ll always stay chilled. No burden at all,” Madhwal concluded.