Renowned Indian all-rounder, Ravichandran Ashwin, recently shared a captivating tale about the emergence of pace sensation Mukesh Kumar, shedding light on an unexpected encounter with the legendary Pakistani bowler, Waqar Younis.
Ashwin, known for his insightful cricket analyses on YouTube, initially envisioned Mohammed Siraj as the ‘junior Shami’ due to his lethal fast bowling. However, he now sees Mukesh Kumar as a potential successor to the throne of India’s all-time leading wicket-taker at the ICC World Cup – Mohammed Shami.
In a recent T20I clash between India and Australia, where the pace spearheads were rested, Mukesh Kumar showcased his prowess alongside Arshdeep Singh and Prasidh Krishna. Ashwin, in his review of the World Cup final, praised Mukesh’s performance against the West Indies, drawing parallels with Shami’s remarkable attributes.
Ashwin highlighted Mukesh’s impressive build, similar height, outstanding wrist position, and a remarkable whip of the wrist, drawing a comparison to the iconic Shami. Referring to Shami as ‘Lalettan,’ a tribute to actor Mohanlal, Ashwin expressed his belief that Mukesh Kumar could be the worthy successor.
Adding an intriguing layer to Mukesh’s journey, Ashwin recounted a lesser-known interaction between Mukesh and Waqar Younis. Sourav Ganguly, then leading the Cricket Association of Bengal, had organized a talent hunt program involving cricket legends Younis, VVS Laxman, and Muttiah Muralitharan.
In a twist of fate, Mukesh, initially absent when his name was called, received a second chance to impress. Waqar Younis, on the verge of departure, instructed him to bowl a couple of deliveries. Astonishingly, those two deliveries proved to be life-changing, propelling Mukesh Kumar into the spotlight as a formidable force in Indian cricket.
This narrative not only unveils the potential heir to Shami but also highlights the serendipitous moment when Waqar Younis played a pivotal role in shaping Mukesh Kumar’s cricketing destiny.