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Kiran Akash says he used his Kariakudi Kalai woes as an opportunity to savours the moment of redemption at Madurai after one of his best performance in the 2019 Tamil Nadu Premier League.
The 22-year-old All Rounder, Kiran Akash, was one of the main reasons for Madurai Panther’ incredible run to the playoff in the 2019 TNPL. He finished the season as the second-highest wicket-taker with 17 wickets which included a hat-trick and much-required contribution towards the end with bat against Karaikudi Kaalai. In a chat with Fisto Sports, the speedster talks about his early days, whom he model his game and 2019 TNPL and future plans.
Here are the excerpts:
Tell us about your initial cricket days. What was your childhood cricket like? What drove you to cricket?
Coming from a sports background, my father, a former volleyball player, saw me excel in athletics in school, so he put me into cricket and felt strongly I could be a good pacer. I began my journey being a bowler, but adapted to other roles for the betterment of my team.
Who were your cricket role model/inspiration whilst growing up?
I grew up watching Jeff Thompson. And television coverage has helped me learn a lot about cricket. I did not miss any single match in my early days. Also, I always admired Australian legend Brett Lee for his lethal bowling.
Since you’re a predominantly bowler, also good batsmen – whom do you model your game on?
I love watching Ben Stokes and Hardik Pandya and I tried to copy their bowling, batting action. I have always adored their batting prowess.
What age did you make your domestic cricket debut? Were you excited with the opportunity or nervous with the expectations from you?
It's always an extraordinary feeling that I get when I wear the Tamil Nadu cap and jersey when representing the team during various tournaments like U-14, U-19, U-23 and awaiting the others.
You are seen as one of the most promising talents from the TNPL, How has the journey been so far? Highlight some of the high-low moments you’ve witnessed so far?
TNPL is a great platform to showcase talent! It is helping a lot of small town as well as experienced players to be identified by the bigger giants such as the IPL, it's like a ticket for us to the larger platforms. At the same time setting benchmarks within the state. In the first edition of the TNPL, I played for the Kariakudi Kalais, it wasn't a good season for me as I just played a single match. But in the Second season, I wasn't part of any team. While in the Third season, I was picked up by the Siechem Madhurai Panthers, they gave me the opportunity and backed me throughout the season but due to an injury I couldn't play the rest of the matches. Due to my performance, I was retained in the team for the Fourth season as well and it came off well.
This season has been a memorable one for you as far as you were the second highest wicket-taker with 17 in TNPL 2019. How did it bolster your confidence? And what was your preparation like before the start of the tournament?
Presently playing for Sanmar, it has enhanced my performance as well as personality. Being trained by the top most coaches like Jay Sir and Ajay Sir along with the fast bowling coaches Jesuraj and Suthesh Sir, it has helped me to a large extent. All credits to Bharath Reddy sir for providing me with this wonderful opportunity and the best of facilities!
Do you fancy your chances becoming an all-rounder knowing you have pretty decent bowling and batting skills?
T20 cricket demands the application of a lot of improvisations from the bowlers. Have you been working on any variation lately?
There are a few variants that I have been working on in the nets which has contributed to my performance during the matches.
What are the key learnings from this TNPL that you want to implement going ahead in future games?
During the matches, the captain Shijith Chandran played a vital role for my performance. He is a great mentor! He taught me the importance of being a team man and not to be on the personal plan. Not just on field but also off field our bonding is pretty good, which helped me to execute his plans successfully.
If not a cricketer, then what would you have been? Botanist. Which has been your most favorite cricket memory?
When I picked my first 5 wicket haul for Tamil Nadu in my U-19 match.
How are the preparations for the TNCA 1st Division League 2019 going on?
It’s going pretty good, we are aiming to win the league title and play good matches. My main aim is to get as many wickets and runs and to play consistently as best as I can.
What would be your ultimate achievement as a cricketer?
Each one dreams to wear that blue jersey. Each one dreams to play for their country. Each one dreams to be among those eleven on the field. And it’s no different for me. I would like to play for the Senior Nationals team and I am practicing hard to achieve the feat in the distant future.
A movie that you absolutely love? – Rocky (film series)
A celebrity you dream of clicking a dualfie with? – Ajith Kumar
Do you think of yourself as an all-rounder? – Yes, I am.
Most difficult batsman you have ever bowled against? - Murali Vijay and Baba Aparajith.
If you could play for any IPL team in the distant future, which team would you choose? Obviously, CSK.