Mukesh Choudhary: Not power-play specialist yet, but definitely on radar
Mukesh Choudhary has picked seven wickets in the IPL 2022 so far|
IPL 2022 has been sparked up by a lot of youngsters with the bat so far but Mukesh Choudhary has been impressive with his ability to swing the ball both ways. Mukesh has been terrific for Chennai Super Kings so far with his role taking seven wickets from six matches and a bowling average of 28.29.
Indian Premier League has turned out to be a platform for senior players to regain their form and bang on the doors of selectors while it has been also a land of opportunities for the youngsters. Many young batters like Tilak Varma, Ayush Badoni, Jitesh Sharma, and Abhinav Manohar have displayed their potential with the bat. However, with the ball only two young pacers Vaibhav Arora and Mukesh Choudhary have impressed everyone. Furthermore, being a left-handed seamer makes Mukesh very special.
The team’s campaign in the IPL 2022 has been disappointing for them but Mukesh has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for them. Deepak Chahar was ruled out of the tournament before their season opener and the team was definitely going to miss his ability to take wickets in the opening overs. They were forced to include Mukesh in the squad and the ploy has worked well for them so far. Mukesh has bowled most of his overs in the power play for CSK and provides wickets.
Mukesh started his cricketing journey against Railways while playing for Maharashtra in a first-class match in 2017. He then made his List-A debut against Odisha and T20 debut versus Railways in 2019. He has 38 wickets from his 13 first-class games, 17 wickets in 12 List A matches, and 23 T20 wickets from 18 games. He recently admitted in a post-match presentation of an IPL match that he never expected that he will play cricket at the highest competitive level. Now, not only he has marked his arrival in IPL but also is learning every day to improve his bowling.
When he was included in the team for the game against Lucknow Super Giants he was supposed to play against the solid batting line-up which included KL Rahul and Quinton De Kock. He was unable to pick a single wicket bowling in the second innings but there was a lack of assistance for swing due to the dew factor. Since that game, He has picked at least a single wicket in each game and the last couple of games have been superb for him. CSK was playing against Gujarat Titans in the last game and he was very impressive. He conceded just 18 runs in three overs and picked an important wicket of Shubhman Gill. He helped the team restrict opponents to 37/3 in the power play.
Now, in the last match against Mumbai Indians Mukesh was phenomenal. There was a dampness in the pitch and he used it fully to his advantage. CSK opted to bowl first and the left-hander was on song. In the second delivery of the very first over of the innings, he bowled a delivery swinging in and Rohit lofted it straight towards mid-on. He then bamboozled Ishan Kishan by swinging the ball both ways. On the fifth delivery, he bowled a peach of the delivery to Kishan and clean bowled him. He then rolled his fingers over the ball to Dewald Brevis and sent him back to the pavilion. He was instrumental in restricting the opposition to a low total taking three wickets in the powerplay.
The ability to swing the ball both ways makes Mukes very unique. Also, the angle with which the left-arm seamer bowls is always dangerous for a right-handed batter. CSK are missing Deepak Chahar badly but Mukesh is at least providing their wickets in the powerplay. He can be a lethal weapon for them with the new ball even after Deepak gets back in the lineup next season. Also, they can hunt in pairs whenever there will be assistance for swing. Also, he is the sole Indian left-handed seamer who is swinging the ball in such a way and taking wickets in the powerplay. Also, CSK have several senior players in the squad and they might hang their boots after this season. In such a scenario Mukesh will have an opportunity to cement his place in the team.
Natarajan is another impressive left-arm seamer in the tournament but he is a death specialist and bowls very rarely in the power play Mukesh has an opportunity to be a left-handed pacer who can provide the wickets for his team in the opening overs. CSK would like to encourage the youngster and groom him for the upcoming seasons of the tournament. Also, if he speeds up his bowling he can be lethal with the kind of swing he already possesses. There are a lot of things to be learnt for the youngster but he has the potential to be a power-play specialist. Bowlers like Trent Boult and Mitchell Starc have shown how difficult it is for batters to play a left-handed pacer if he swings the ball both ways and maintains discipline in terms of line and lengths. Mukesh has a long way to go as of now but has the potential to be a quality swing bowler for sure.