Avesh Khan Way: Sleep well, eat well and bowl well

Ahmedabad, May 23 (PTI) Eat, sleep. bowl and repeat. Avesh Khan has simplified the mantra of success and it is paying dividends as one saw his performances during key games for Rajasthan Royals in this year’s IPL.

With 16 wickets from 15 matches, mostly played on flat decks, an economy rate of 9.81 is praiseworthy and his control at the death has made him look a different bowler this time around.

“I have simplified my cricket — I have to sleep (well), I have to eat (well) and I have to bowl (well) and there is nothing else to it,” said Avesh, who took a three-for to help Rajasthan Royals reach Qualifier 2 in IPL here on Wednesday.

“The more you would think… cricket is like a circle, the smaller you keep it, the better it will be. You expand this circle more and you will find (more and more) gaps,” he added.

“This has changed my life too and also impacted my cricket,”he said.

The 27-year-old, who is among India’s reserve players for next month’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the USA, on Wednesday revealed that analysing his strengths and weaknesses after a heavy domestic season followed by IPL last year helped him find the better version of himself.

“Last year when I played for LSG, I had played 10 matches of Ranji Trophy wherein I bowled about 320 overs. The body was not responding to the efforts I was putting in,” he said.

He also needed to be aware that playing too much can cause wear and tear.

“It happens, sometimes as a bowler you just end up playing so much. Even in the IPL, you may think that it’s a four-over game or a 20-over game but still, there is a lot of effort that goes in. The body starts giving up and there are mental and physical fatigues too,” he added.

“Your execution could go off the mark, but if you are mentally and physically fresh you will be able to execute better. I was not fresh last year so I did not have a successful IPL. I (also) realised later that there is no good in taking so much tension,” he added.

Avesh said going back to the drawing board and working with his coach in order to work on his bowling action and setting up right routines for training and recovery have helped him immensely.

“I could not find the answers back then, but after the IPL last year, I analysed that there were some technical changes in my bowling. I worked with my coach Anand Rajan and I did well with him,” he said.

“I played in the Deodhar Trophy and Duleep Trophy which was followed by my comeback into the Indian team.”

Avesh said leaving LSG for Rajasthan Royals also had specific benefits for him as a bowler.

“I understood my body and when the trade was made this year, I was also happy because anything can happen to you at any time in IPL,” said Avesh.

“The trade was not in my hands, but I took it positively, and Rajasthan’s (home) ground is also quite big, the team is also good… as a bowler you need such margins,” he said.

While acknowledging that various methods help player develop mental toughness, Avesh said there is no better teacher than going through the grind regularly.

“I get up only at 2:00pm on match days so there is no time to think that much,” Avesh replied when asked what he does to develop mental toughness.

“You can do whatever you can to build mental toughness but until you are not in a position to have faced the challenges repeatedly, you cannot overcome them. I acknowledge all that, but when (as a batter) you need 10-12 runs in an over, you forget everything and focus on execution,” he added.

The pacer acknowledged RR’s dugout was tense during a close finish against RCB in the Eliminator here but he said the team perhaps remembered head coach Kumar Sangakkara’s message before the game.

“The talk was simple — either we would win or go back home. We had to give it our all,” he said.

“We were top two till the last game of the (league stage) and we finished third. (Kumar) Sangakkara said whether we win or lose, there should not be any regrets,” Avesh added.

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