March 5, 2019, Mumbai fast-bowler Tushar Deshpande faced one of the toughest moments of his life, the demise of his mother.
One day later, Deshpande was traveling with the Mumbai team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which was being held at Indore. The lanky fast bowler finished the tournament as the third highest wicket taker. He scalped 19 wickets in 10 games, with best figures of 4/19.
Deshpande has taken rapid strides in domestic cricket and has displayed his mental and physical toughness while being at work.
In the previous year, Deshpande bowled one of the finest spells of the season when he rattled the Railways batsmen at the Karnail Singh Stadium. On a pitch which wasn't assisting the pacers, Deshpande troubled the batsmen as he made the ball talk despite coughing and battling the Delhi pollution.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, Tushar Deshpande reveals his thought process, motivation and his career plans.
"I played the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy because my mother always told me that you should play for India with the hard work you’ve put in. Playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and other domestic tournaments are the stepping stones to playing for India. My mother said that I’ll play for India, skipping the tournament at that time wouldn’t help my cause or my mother's cause so that was the thing I kept in mind and that kept me going", said Deshpande.
Deshpande stressed on the fact that these domestic tournaments are stepping stones and the ultimate goal is to play Test cricket for his country. The 24-year-old believes that making a compromise in the sport is not justified, "My dad told me to never compromise with the game", the Mumbai lad believes in working as hard as possible.
He picked up 6 wickets in 6 games in this season of the T20 Mumbai League. Talking about his performance, Deshpande said, "I think we don’t focus more on picking up wickets. I was the only bowler of the team who used to bowl in the power play and the death overs. I had to contain runs. Bowling in middle overs is easier in T20 cricket but power play and death overs is something which is crucial for the team and me also. I was executing my balls very well and I was in good rhythym and that is a good sign".
Deshpande's aggressive nature and never say never attitude comes from South African speedster Dale Steyn who has been his bowling inspiration over the years. '
'The attitude he brings to his bowling is extraordinary. Bowlers get wickets and they don’t celebrate but Steyn gets the batsmen out and the way he celebrates, it displays the effort he has put in to get the batsmen out, I love watching him bowl".
In the previous season of the Ranji Trophy, the pacer picked up 17 wickets in 4 games. While talking about this year's preparation, Deshpande said, "The main thing is fitness, last time I got a niggle and I was out for 2-3 matches, this hampered my progress and even my team’s progress. My primary aim is to play the full season for Mumbai, to play all the 8-9 matches. I’m just focusing to improve my skills in white ball cricket and red ball cricket. Skills is such a thing that if we keep on improving it, it’ll sharpen".
"For me, the only thing is to move day by day. Everyday and everything has different challenges and I believe in facing them. Making long term and short term goals puts more pressure on an individual, progress is important day by day," Deshpande concluded.