Akash Deep didn’t expect maiden Test call-up in England series

Akash Deep, the Bengal fast bowler, is the latest entrant to the Indian Test squad, and for him, the summons to don the national colors came as an unexpected delight. Having been engrossed in a domestic Ranji Trophy match, it was during a break that he heard the news about his inclusion in India’s squad for the remaining three Test matches against England. Deep was called up as a replacement for Avesh Khan, who had been released from the squad to gain valuable playing time in domestic cricket.

Despite his impressive record and having been in the selector’s views, including features in the Asian Games lineup and the One Day International (ODI) series in South Africa, Deep hadn’t anticipated a Test opportunity quite so soon. “I was hopeful that in the near future I might get a Test call-up if I keep performing, but I didn’t expect that it would come by the third match itself,” the 27-year-old remarked with an air of optimism laced with surprise during an interview with PTI.

Akash Deep’s journey to the national squad wasn’t an instantaneous leap. He has gradually made his way onto the selector’s radar with consistent performances. Reflecting on his previous experiences with the national side, it was not just his skill with the ball that made him stand out but also his mental fortitude and the ability to perform under pressure.

When asked about the technical aspects of his game and the road ahead, Deep was clear that mastery in swing bowling and the art of controlling it would be central to his success at the international level. He admitted to recognizing the importance of mental strength along with technical skill—acknowledging that to succeed at this high level, executing plans under pressure is key. It’s a challenge that the pacer feels ready for, as he brings his in-swing potency and newly honed outswing and reverse swing techniques to the fore in international cricket.

Since his debut in 2019, Aakash Deep has already taken 103 wickets in 29 first-class matches, proving his mettle in the domestic circuit. This kind of performance has no doubt contributed to his inclusion in the squad for the challenging red-ball series against England.

The Indian team is set to assemble in Rajkot on Monday, February 12, ahead of the third Test starting on February 15. For Deep, this assembly will also be a moment of pride, as he will share the Indian dressing room with his state teammate Mukesh Kumar. The presence of a familiar face is set to be a source of support and camaraderie for the fast bowler as he steps into the demanding arena of Test cricket.

This Test call-up validates the hours of hard work and dedication that Akash Deep has put into his game. The spotlight will be on him to see if he can translate his domestic successes onto the international stage, where challenges abound but also where heroes are made. Fans and pundits alike will be closely watching as Akash Deep potentially makes his mark in the illustrious annals of Indian cricket.

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