"He is nurturing one of the gems of the country" - Uttarakhand coach Manish Kumar praises Rohit Sharma for Akash Madhwal's performance

Akash Madhwal starred in MI
Akash Madhwal starred in MI's crushing victory in the Eliminator against LSG

Uttarakhand coach Manish Kumar hailed Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Rohit Sharma for Akash Madhwal's performances in the ongoing IPL season.

Madhwal was roped in by MI as a net bowler before being drafted into the squad due to an injury to Suryakumar Yadav in 2022. He warmed the benches before getting an opportunity in the second half of IPL 2023.

Manish Kumar has worked closely with Madhwal as the coach of Uttarakhand since the 2019-20 season. He also appointed the 29-year-old bowler as the captain of Uttarakhand last year.

Speaking to India Today, Manish Kumar revealed his conversations with Akash Madhwal on Rohit Sharma's backing of the cricketer to the hilt.

"I mean, it's amazing. I was talking to him a few days back. He told me that in my performance 60-70 percent credit should go to Rohit Sharma," Manish said. "He told me 'Rohit bhaiya gave me so much confidence and backs me so much that when I get onto the ground, I don't feel pressure'. He said 'bhaiya boltha hai, tu jaa aur bindaas apne aapko express kar'. Whatever he is communicating, I am executing that."

The Uttarakhand coach also praised Rohit for playing a crucial role in developing Madhawal's career.

"60 percent of my pressure-soaking is done by Rohit Sharma. That word coming from an Indian captain is a big thing. He is backing him so much. Rohit is playing a very important role in his career. He is nurturing one of the gems of the country." Manish said.

While he did not feature in MI's playing XI in the first half of the season, Akash Madhwal has lit up the IPL since making his debut against the Punjab Kings (PBKS).

In MI's final league game against the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH), Madhwal picked up four crucial wickets to help the side qualify for the playoffs.

He then put on a Player of the Match performance in the Eliminator against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), picking up five wickets while conceding just five runs in his 3.3 overs.

Akash Madhwal's figures were the best by a bowler in IPL playoff history. It helped MI advance to Qualifier 2 to take on the Gujarat Titans (GT).

"The selectors should think about him" - Manish Kumar on Akash Madhwal's Team India selection

Uttarakhand coach Manish Kumar also pointed out India's lack of death bowling options as a reason why the selectors should consider Akash Madhwal.

Madhwal has picked up 13 wickets in seven games this season for MI, at an average of 12.85 and an economy rate of 7.77 runs per over.

He has displayed a terrific ability to nail his yorkers and variations in the death overs with skid off the surface. It is evident from his incredible economy rate of only 6.67 runs per over from overs 15 to 20 in this year's IPL.

On Madhwal's potential India call-up, Manish said:

"Definitely, he should play. It's too early to say now. But the way he is responding at the highest level that's what we are lacking at the top level. That's what we are looking for in the death overs. The selectors should think about him."

Akash Madhwal's ability to produce a tinge of reverse swing with supreme accuracy has made him almost impossible to get away at the death overs.

He will look to keep up the good work when MI will take on defending champions Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad on Friday, May 26.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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