The new kid in the building Mukesh Kumar first caught the attention of Waqar in 2020.
Mukesh Kumar has been making waves over the past few seasons in domestic cricket and was rightly rewarded with a place in the Indian team. With all the senior players out, domestic players such as Patidar, and Mukesh were called upon under Dhawan’s captaincy. Mukesh scalped 20 wickets in nine matches in his previous domestic season.
How Mukesh Kumar impressed KKR’s Waqar Younis
Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) launched its ambitious ‘Vision 2020’ program with an aim to make the state a supply line of national team players under the initial guidance of legendary bowlers Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Joy Bhattacharjya shared a story about the pacer’s background when he was participating in the ‘Vision 2020’ campaign. Joy recalled being impressed by the fast bowler on the first day of the trials before he went to leave a mark on Pakistani legend Waqar Younis, who graced the shots on the second day
“He is an amazing player and the back story is just as fascinating. He is from Gopalganj. His father wanted him to join the Central Reserve Police Force. He tried three times and didn’t get in. But the best story was related to being by the director of CAB.
“Waqar Younis was set to come to Kolkata to have a look at players and there was a pre-trial held just to identify some of the players,” Joy said in his interaction with Cricbuzz ahead of the start of the ODI series.
Waqar did the complete assessment and said, ‘This is the only guy…he’s the best guy playing.”
As the adage goes, game recognises game, and Waqar’s remarks must have provided him the much-needed confidence he required at the time.