India’s T20I squad for the series against Sri Lanka which was announced last month was mostly on expected lines. Hardik Pandya was captain, while Rohit Sharma continued to recover from his thumb injury. Virat Kohli was rested and there were still no signs of Jasprit Bumrah’s or Ravindra Jadeja’s returns. Suryakumar Yadav was elevated as vice-captain and Harshal Patel was back. Overall, it was mostly hits, fewer misses. However, two names that were surprise packages in the squad were fast bowlers Mukesh Kumar and Shivam Mavi. Having toiled years in the domestic circuit, both had a memorable IPL 2022 auction going for solid money, only for the occasion to get sweeter days later.
Mukesh was picked for ₹5.5 core by Delhi Capitals, but it was Shivam Mavi, whose dream of becoming an India cricketer took a giant step forward. Mavi was in the 2018 class of India’s Under-19 World Cup win in New Zealand, the same squad where he was teammates with Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw. While the two openers went on to make a mark for themselves, Mavi got left behind due to a string of injuries that simply hampering him and shoved him down the pecking order.
Fitter and smarter Shivam Mavi battles injuries, earns maiden India call-up
But a resurgent comeback in 2022 – he took 14 wickets in seven matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, finishing as the 10th-highest wicket-taker, and another 10 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – saw him get his dues. At the IPL auction, reigning champions Gujarat Titans spent ₹6 crore on him, making Mavi the most expensive uncapped Indian buy in history. At that very moment, Mavi knew his career received a second wind.
“When we play domestic games, we normally hit the bed early to get proper rest. But that day, because I heard the team was about to be announced, I was sitting in Saurabh [left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar] bhaiyya‘s room with Samarth [Singh]. As soon as I learnt of my selection, for a split second, everything came to a standstill. It was an amazing feeling. I was emotional, but I knew my time had come,” Mavi told ESPNCricinfo.
Mavi has already had his fair share on injuries. He has already endured an ACL injury, to go with two stress fractures which sidelined him for nearly a year. While he was recovering, Mavi, who would bowl in the 140s regularly, had to cut down on pace. During this period of setbacks, Mavi recalls that he could have let the disappointments get to him, but the 24-year-old decided to remain positive. He even shared an anecdote feature India head coach Rahul Dravid – who was also his coach when India lifted the World Cup five years ago and while Mavi was undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy – that helped him get back on his feet.
“I have always been quite mentally strong. What I have learnt all the while is that injuries are part and parcel of the game. It is easy to be positive when things are going your way, but it is more important to stay positive when you are injured. That’s all I ever reminded myself of,” Mavi added.
“When I got injured the second time, I was at the NCA and Rahul [Dravid] sir was also there. I was under pressure because of my repeated injuries. That’s when I sought him out and asked for his advice. He asked me to just keep my entire focus on the field of play. Injuries will come and go, but it is important to stay prepared for all opportunities that come your way.”
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