IPL 2023 Mini Auction: Why Delhi Capitals went all out for Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar?

Xtra Time Web Desk: It was a perfect rags to riches story for Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar as he was brought by Delhi Capitals franchise for INR 5.5 crore, which was 27 times more his base price in the IPL 2023 mini auctions held in Kochi on Friday. Mukesh, whose father used to earn a living riding an auto rickshaw, was involved in a three-way bidding race at the IPL mini auction.

Chennai Super Kings opened the bidding and was soon joined by Delhi Capitals. Mukesh’s price quickly shot past Rs 1 crore as PBKS joined the race. CSK eventually dropped out but DC persisted and eventually signed Mukesh. He was also part of DC’s extended squad in 2022 and now has been drafted straight into the main squad.

The Bengal pacer got rewarded for his consistent performance in domestic cricket and also for his good showing in the recent India A tour to Bangladesh. He bagged 9 wickets in the series against Bangladesh A. He also earned a maiden call up in the senior India team for the ODI series against South Africa at home few months back.

Mukesh, who hails from Bihar’s Gopalganj district has a humble background. His father wanted him to join the army but he failed to crack it. Mukesh’s father insisted him to come to Kolkata where he was driving a taxi to make a living.

As there were very opportunities in hometown Bihar, Mukesh did travel to Kolkata. He started playing club cricket for Bani Niketan, which was a second division club. He picked 6 wickets in his very first club cricket match. A good season saw him elevated to the first division CAB league. But he soon found out it was tough breaking into the playing XI. He started playing tennis ball cricket in Kolkata, Patna, even Delhi at times.

The turning point in his career arrived when he went for the Vision 2020 trials organized by the Cricket Association of Bengal. It was a talent hunt cum grooming programme, with stalwarts like VVS Laxman, Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralitharan at the helm. Former Bengal pacer Ranadeb Bose spotted his talent and convinced Waqar to include him. He was selected for the programme, put on a special diet and one year later, he made his first-class debut in Rohtak where he was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4/53.

From the kind of background, it was an inspiring journey for Mukesh to come so far. Here’s wishing Mukesh Kumar all the best in his career ahead.