IPL 2019: Are we finally going to watch Kamlesh Nagarkoti in IPL?
A fine morning in January 2018, India woke up to a tweet by Sourav Ganguly that had the entire nation smiling and beaming. In his tweet that day, Sourav Ganguly had drawn the attention of BCCI and the Indian skipper Virat Kohli to the bunch of Indian U-19 pacers who were wreaking havoc and firing bolts at their Australian counterparts. Sourav Ganguly was impressed, and so was anyone who saw it.
The bunch of pacers that were being referred to are the trio of Shivam Mavi, Ishaan Porel and most importantly, Kamlesh Nagarkoti. The young pacer hailing from Rajasthan grabbed the attention of the entire cricketing fraternity that day and there were enough reasons to believe that he would hog the limelight for some time to come.
Though the tournament was being held in New Zealand in 2018, in conditions that were alien to the subcontinent players, the Indian seamers bowled brilliantly. India has historically been a strong contender at the tournament and with Australia, were tied at the top for having lifted the trophy the most number of times. They were after all coached by the legendary Rahul Dravid. But this tournament was expected to be about Prithvi Shaw and perhaps about Shubman Gill, and any other batsmen who would emerge through the ranks. That’s what India does, churns out batting talents, one after the another, classy, talented, awe-inspiring batsmen. But 2018 had a different script.
Going into the 2018 under-19 World Cup, all the buzz was around Prithvi Shaw. The young teenage wunderkind had almost replicated Sachin’s records on debut at the domestic circuits and at this young age, was touted to be the next big thing from the Mumbai school of batting. And yes, in a nation like India, you can’t be blamed for your expectations. There was also a certain buzz around the little known Shubman Gill. A player whose game was said to be built in the same mold as Virat Kohli. But no one spoke of Kamlesh Nagarkoti. But post that opening match against the Australian Under 19 team, everyone started talking about the young quickie.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti bowled with pace and fury clocking speeds consistently above 145 kmph. Along with Shivam Mavi and Ishaan Porel, the trio struck fear into the hearts of the opposition ranks. Indians were overjoyed when the TV screens flashed up a stat that showed that India had topped the chart for the fastest delivery in the match and at the pinnacle of that chart was Kamlesh Nagarkoti at 149 kmph. Even Ian Bishop was mightily impressed to see him bowling at such a pace at this young age.
Besides being an impressive fast bowler, Kamlesh Nagarkoti is also a good fielder and handy batsman as he demonstrated at various stages of the tournament.
The talent that Nagarkoti possessed was immediately recognized as the Kolkata Knight Riders bagged him at the IPL auction in 2018. But then, the joy was short-lived. Soon thereafter started Nagarkoti’s tryst with injuries. Recurrent back trouble that forced him out of the game throughout IPL season. Kamlesh Nagarkoti has not played a single competitive match since then and though he was offered a call up to the Rajasthan Ranji team, he doesn’t expect to recover and be fully fit before the end of the Ranji season.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost for Nagarkoti yet. Beyond his own expectations, his IPL franchise KKR has retained him for the next season and Nagarkoti can perhaps dream again. India is not a country that has traditionally been known for its fast bowling riches. But of late, the likes of Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami, and Ishant had impressed at the international level, and the results of the same are out there for everyone to see.
The expectations are high and rightly so, the entire nation will hope that Kamlesh Nagarkoti can return to the field this IPL and bowl as well as we all know he can.