| Avishkar Salvi (left) is set to challenge statemate Ajit Agarkar for a berth in the Indian team
Dhaka: Avishkar Salvi was confident he would grow up to be a cricketer capable of competing with the best at the international level. So he quit studies after the tenth standard and concentrated on fine-tuning his cricketing skills.
Salvi’s performance in his debut series has proved that his self-belief wasn’t misplaced. Four wickets in three matches may not sound too impressive but his control, accuracy and action has earned admiration.
Salvi missed out playing the TVS Cup final narrowly, the thinktank opting for the experienced in a last-minute decision. With Jawagal Srinath’s future uncertain, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Salvi finds a berth in the Australia-bound squad later this year.
The team management believes he is here to stay and John Wright was effusive in his assessment the other day. “He is an outstanding prospect… Looks to have a bright future,” the India coach said.
Confidence is, in fact, his forte. “I never think negative,” Salvi told The Telegraph Sunday evening. “My job is to go out and bowl. Even if I am hit for a boundary, I know I can exact revenge on the next ball. I start afresh every ball,” the 21-year-old added.
Having grown up on the docile wickets, he is used to unfriendly conditions. “You won’t get to bowl on seaming tracks most of the time. So you have to learn to be disciplined,” said Salvi, who has modelled his bowling on Glenn McGrath.
“I’ve always wanted to be like McGrath. There’s no shame in that. I’ve studied his run-up very closely. His ability to stick to a definite line and length is amazing,” Salvi remarked.
For someone who made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai only last season, the national call-up came a bit early. Obviously, his success with the India A team in the West Indies helped. He emerged as the find of the Caribbean tour with 29 wickets in five matches.
“The wickets in the Caribbean are no longer heaven for pacers. They are slow and not conducive to fast bowling,” he said of his experience. The 10-wicket haul against Jamaica was his most cherished memory.
The A tour and the experience here have helped him get a feel of the international level. “You’ve to be very consistent at this level. You’ll have to pay dearly for every single mistake.”
Salvi, who plays for Shivaji Park Youngster and lives in Thane, owes it all to Frank Tyson. “He was in charge of a 21-day camp at Wankhede Stadium in 2000. He monitored my action and worked with me. What I am today is all because of him. He has taught me every aspect of fast bowling.
“Later when I was with the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, Tyson was working with the Karnataka side. He found time to correct a few flaws in my rhythm. It helped me immensely,” Salvi added.
Sachin Tendulkar watched him at the Mumbai nets before the start of the season. “He stressed on the importance of being positive. Sourav too has been a source of encouragement.
“I’ve also learnt doing the training sessions more systematically under Adrian Le Roux and that will help improve my physical fitness,” Salvi added.
For someone who has lived a dream of being a Test cricketer, this may just be the right beginning.