Veteran Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin heaped praise on ‘Men in Blue’ pacer Mukesh Kumar, calling him ‘Junior Shami’. While speaking on his official YouTube channel, Ashwin said that when he first met Mohammed Siraj, he thought the 29-year-old would become the junior of Mohammed Shami.
However, Ashwin’s mind changed after he was Mukesh Kumar and now he felt that the 30-year-old can be the younger version of the most-takers in the ODI World Cup 2023.
Ashwin added that Mukesh has a similar build, height, and wrist position to the 33-year-old. Ashwin further hails Mukesh and says that he has that great whip of the wrist and terrific backspin on the ball.
“I initially thought Mohammad Siraj would become the junior Shami, but I now feel it could be Mukesh Kumar. Shami is called ‘Lala’ and as a tribute to the actor Mohanlal who is called Lalettan, I call Shami Lalettan. Mukesh has a similar build, similar height, and outstanding wrist position – he has that great whip of the wrist and terrific backspin on the ball. He has a very nice straight and nice alignment,” Ashwin said.
The number one Test bowler also recalled about the time when Waqar Younis changed Mukesh’s career just by seeing his two deliveries.
“Imagine, you are going to bowl in front of Waqar Younis, and you were at the toilet. They had called out his name but he wasn’t there! He returned, waited for 30 minutes and told them that his name wasn’t called out. It was then that Waqar Younis, who was about to leave, told him to bowl a couple of balls. Those two deliveries changed his life and he is now bowling for India,” Ashwin added.
Mukesh made his international debut for the ‘Men in Blue’ on July 20, 2023, following which he has appeared in 10 matches for India and has bagged nine wickets.
The 30-year-old has been included in the five-match T20I series against Australia. In the first game of the series, Mukesh failed to take any wickets but gave only 29 runs.