MP pacer Kuldeep shines on his IPL debut

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Before his birth, Aril Anthony’s family migrated from Goa to Nagpur to Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and eventually settled in Rewa. Aril started playing cricket there and given his exploits with MP under-16 and 19 teams, he was included in the India-19 probables, who were shortlisted to train under Australian legend Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. Aril honed his skills there for more than two years in the mid-90s but couldn’t graduate to the next level due to various reasons.

In 2001, he returned to the field hoping to produce more cricketers from the region and since then, he has been grooming cricketers, who have represented the state and the country. Till Sunday, Ishwar Pandey, who in 2013 had received an India call-up for the New Zealand series, and India women cricketer Nuzhat Parween, were his most famed wards.

All that changed, at least to an extent, when his other protege, Kuldeep Sen, successfully defended 15 runs in the last over for Rajasthan Royals against Lucknow Super Giants in an IPL match on Sunday night. “To be frank, I was worried when he was asked to bowl the last over. It could have gone either way as it was Kuldeep’s maiden outing in the league.

I am happy he remained calm and bowled wide full-length deliveries,” Anthony told this daily from Awadhesh Pratap Singh University ground, where he trains budding cricketers. The 25-year-old Kuldeep did call his coach on Monday morning to share his experience. “Forget about bowling the last over, he was not even sure of making his debut,” he said.

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