The 20-year-old Rajasthan pace sensation can’t wait to take the field for KKR as IPL gets underway, but he will have to fight for his place in the Playing XI.
Rajasthan’s pace sensation Kamlesh Nagarkoti is being touted as the next big thing in the Indian cricket. The 20-year-old made headlines when Kolkata Knight Riders snagged him for an eyebrow-raising Rs 3 crore in the 2018 IPL auction, a few days after he played a big part in India lifting the U-19 World Cup. But injuries have kept him to the sidelines and he is yet to play in the Indian Premier League. As the 2020 edition gets underway from September 19, Nagarkoti faces stiff competition to make into the KKR Playing XI, but we can expect him to give it all when he gets a chance. Edited excerpts of an exclusive interview with Kamlesh Nagarkoti:
Q) You are yet to play a T20 game or a first-class match and yet your speed is being talked about very highly. Does that put you under some pressure?
A) Yes and no, as far as maintaining the hype around speed is concerned. If you focus too much on speed, then it can also affect you physically. You need to be alert mentally when you are bowling. Sometimes when you are bowling (relatively) slow, you wonder why am I doing that? So, it’s important to know about your body and how you handle the talk about speed because only you know what you are doing. Frankly, I haven’t worked too much on my speed, but yes certainly on the technical aspects of my bowling. Whatever shortcomings I had, I have tried to work on them and let’s see what kind of speed I will have when I play.
Q) Your captain Dinesh Karthik says your fielding is as good as Ravindra Jadeja’s.
Thank you, Captain DK, for comparing me to India’s best. I have always tried to work and improve my fielding. And what better compliment than getting such praise from the skipper.
Q) Who has been your inspiration—in bowling, batting and fielding?
In fielding, it has always been Jonty Rhodes. I always thought if one wants to be a (great) fielder then one should be like Mr Rhodes. Of course, no one can be like him.
Mohammed Shami and Bhuvi bhai are my bowling heroes. I was mesmerised by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s swing because it’s not easy to swing the ball both ways. And, Shami bhai is special because of his seam position. I am a big fan of Shami.
Q) What did you talk about bowling with your teammates Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson?
I am very lucky that the World’s Number 1 bowler (Cummins is Test No. 1, ODI No. 4 and T20 No 19 in ICC’s latest rankings) is in my team. We (youngsters) will learn a lot from them. They have got a huge amount of experience and it will be a great learning curve for all of us. I am very excited about the presence of two of the best fast bowlers in the world (in our team).
Q) You have come a long way from Barmer. What is your ultimate dream?
The ultimate dream is, of course, to play for the Indian team and I have to achieve that.
Q) How did you spend the past couple of months without cricket and did it affect you mentally?
It did, since we were not able to practice or train much during the lockdown. However, we spoke to KKR trainers and they gave us a programme. So, the feeling was that we were engaged in something fruitful and that was very satisfying.
Q Your thoughts on KKR bowling coaches Kyle Mills and Omkar Salvi? One is from New Zealand and the other is an Indian.
Most coaches are quite similar in the way they plan. Yes, they do communicate differently when the situation is different. Regardless of their nationality or different methods, one will always find something good and will take it. I’ve always had frank discussions with both the coaches and it’s not an issue for me.Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.