Having last played a competitive game way back in February 2018, a fit Kamlesh Nagarkoti is determined to make an impression in the coming edition of the IPL in the UAE.
And for that, he looks forward to having a mindset like that of his senior Kolkata Knight Riders pace colleague Pat Cummins, whose career suffered several setbacks because of injuries.
“He (Pat) had injuries for a long time. So I would want to ask him what mindset he had during those years, how he kept himself motivated and how he prepared himself for the comeback,” the 20-year-old pacer told kkr.in.
After an impressive showing in the 2018 U-19 World Cup which the India colts won, KKR roped him in for Rs 3 crore. But unfortunately, he missed the IPL that year and the next edition as well owing to injuries on his ankle, heels and lower back.
Nagarkoti acknowledged that even Rahul Dravid, the National Cricket Academy director, kept motivating him with references of the Australian pacer, who has been one of the leading bowlers since his comeback in international cricket.
“I remember I was playing table tennis one day when Dravid Sir was passing by. He stopped for a while and said, ‘you look sad. I can understand what you are going through, but try and take it positively’.
“Then he referred to Cummins’ absence from cricket for so many years and said, ‘when he returned to cricket, he ensured he became the No. 1 bowler in the world’.
“He insisted that I should forget the past but must learn from the mistakes I had made then to have a better future. One more thing I learnt from him was not to ever feel that just because I was injured, I would never be as good as before,” Nagarkoti emphasised.
Talking about his rehab process at the NCA, Nagarkoti said: “I used to interact with a lot of seniors at the NCA, including Dravid Sir.
“He always used to help me sort out my issues. I learnt a great deal when it comes to figuring out the areas I needed to work on, especially my body. Dravid Sir has been really helpful in the entire process.”
As for his fitness regime after coming back from injuries, Nagarkoti added: “I have changed a few aspects in my bowling after consulting my coach Surender Sir and KKR bowling coach Omkar Salvi.
“They shared a couple of pointers on how to reduce injuries. I have been working on them regularly and they have been pretty beneficial.”
Even though he’s yet to play alongside the stars of the game, Nagarkoti understands the need to have variations, which are key for success in the T20 format.
“Of course, you need variations in T20s. That’s the only way to survive. Yorkers are the best bet, but these days even they get hit. So now, it has all become a mind game,” he said.