This new year begins on a promising note for Shivam Mavi as he’s a part of the India squad for the first time in his cricketing career.
Graduating to the senior level after winning the World Cup for India U-19 in 2018, the 24-year-old quick has reached this far only after clearing many hurdles, including stress fractures in his back, which threatened to cut down his pace.
Whether Mavi earns his maiden India cap during the T20I series against Sri Lanka — beginning on Tuesday in Mumbai — remains to be seen, but he’s focused more on the goals he has set for himself this year.
“It’s all about hard work, making myself fitter and stronger, working further on my bowling and looking to make a place for myself internationally,” Mavi told The Telegraph.
With the amount of time he has spent in the IPL — 32 matches and 30 wickets for Kolkata Knight Riders — adjusting to the Team India environment and the dynamics there shouldn’t be a concern for the Uttar Pradesh quick.
“Obviously, spending time and rubbing shoulders with international level players certainly helps. It’s beneficial when you make the transition to the top level. So being in the national team set-up for the first time doesn’t really seem as if you’ve entered into a new world.
“And of course, this aspect of having to deal with pressure and how to react to those situations also gets addressed. So from the mental point of view, you find yourself well placed,” Mavi, the most expensive uncapped player (at Rs 6 crore) during last month’s IPL auction in Kochi, explained.
Mavi believes gelling with the rest of the squad will not at all be a problem. “A few players in this squad have been my teammates in the IPL, while I have also played against some of them.
“So it won’t be an unknown territory for me since I know most of these guys. And I’m sure I’ll be having no problems whatsoever in gelling with the rest,” Mavi said.
With an impressive showing in this season’s Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy (10 wickets from 7 matches) and the Vijay Hazare Trophy (14 wickets from 7 games), Mavi followed it up with a six-wicket haul against Bengal in the first innings of UP’s Ranji Trophy opener at Eden Gardens in December.
Not just with pace, Mavi has also impressed with his ability to move the ball both ways.
“Initially, he could bowl the inswinger only. But at present, he’s getting the ball to swing away as well and picking up quite a few wickets with the outswinger,” Mavi’s personal coach Phoolchand Sharma pointed out.
Mavi hasn’t had much interaction with T20I captain Hardik Pandya, who will also be his skipper at Gujarat Titans.
“I met him in 2019 at the NCA (National Cricket Academy in Bangalore), where he did give me a few suggestions. It was mainly about bowling and using the seam,” Mavi said.
“I do hope we get to interact a lot more in the coming days.”