New Delhi, Dec 29 (PTI): Having overcome his fair share of injuries and done the hard yards in domestic cricket, all Shivam Mavi wants from India skipper Hardik Pandya is an opportunity to shine in the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka.
A week after he was snapped by Gujarat Titans for a whopping Rs 6 crore in the IPL mini-auction, Mavi celebrated another big moment of his career when he was selected in India’s T20 squad for the upcoming three T20s against Sri Lanka, starting January 3 in Mumbai.
The 24-year-old is supremely confident that he won’t let Hardik down.
“Hardik Pandya supports every player. He is a great leader. It is very difficult to be the IPL champions in the first outing but he managed to do it. He led Gujarat Titans from the front and became champions. He is a calm leader but took some bold decisions,” the 24-year-old told PTI in an exclusive interview.
“As a captain Hardik bhai is very shrewd and a master tactician. He knows exactly whom to bowl when and whom to promote in the batting order. I know it is not going to be easy for me but I am just hoping to get a game, perform there and be a regular for India.”
But the journey to the national team was not easy for Mavi after a difficult 2022 IPL season with Kolkata Knight Riders, where he took only five wickets in six games at an economy rate of 10.31 after fetching Rs 7.25 crore.
He went back to the nets and worked hours on to bring variations in his bowling, especially death bowling skills and included the bouncer and yorker in his repertoire.
The efforts seemed to have bore fruit as Mavi was influential for Uttar Pradesh across domestic white-ball competitions this year, picking up 10 wickets in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament and 14 scalps in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
“I didn’t do anything different. I just worked hard in the nets. I know I can generate speed, so just concentrated on bringing variations into my bowling. It paid off as I became more consistent this year,” Mavi said.
“A lot of senior players in the Uttar Pradesh team helped me like Anureet Singh, Parwinder Awana, who is also from Noida. They taught me how to bowl, how to plan out things.”
Mavi, who was a key member of the victorious India’s U-19 World Cup-winning squad in 2018 along side Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, said a patient approach ultimately paid dividends for him. He also had to deal injuries at the start of his career.
“It’s a great feeling and a proud moment to represent your country. Shubman and Prithvi made their India debuts before me but I knew it’s all about the right time. Every individual has his or her luck and time,” he said.
Despite a below-par performance in last IPL, Mavi was confident of a good price in this year’s IPL mini-auction and also got the team of his choice.
“Yes, I was expecting something around Rs 5 and 6 crore. It is a result of my consistent performances. I always wanted to be in GT because I have heard that their management is very good. GT has Hardik bhai and (Ashish) Nehra bhai, the two best thinkers of the game,” he said.
In his formative years, Mavi started as a top-order batter but transformed into a genuine fast bowler under his childhood coach Phoolchand Sharma.
“I started as a batter but I also used to bowl at nets but later I noticed I didn’t have batting skills to become a proper batter. I started to realise after sometime that bowling suits me more than batting.
“Becoming a bowling all-rounder would be a better option for me,” said Mavi, who idolises South Africa pace great Dale Steyn.
Phoolchand Sharma was understandably ecstatic after Mavi’s India call-up.
“Shivam came to me when he was 10 years old. He started as a batter but he used to bowl occasionally at the nets and was a very aggressive bowler. He is a fighter and big match player. He plays very well under pressure,” Sharma said.