Akash Deep received the news he had been expecting would arrive at some point in the future during his most recent Ranji Trophy match for Bengal on Saturday. The Bengal pacer was brought in to replace Avesh Khan in India's side for the final three Test matches against England, which were announced.
"I was hopeful that in the near future I might get a Test call-up if I keep performing but I didn't expect that it would come by the third match itself," Akash explained to PTI.
Akash has toiled hard on the domestic scene, taking 103 wickets in 29 games for Bengal since making his debut in 2019. The call-up is a reward for his efforts. Additionally, he gained from playing well when it counted, as demonstrated by his 11 wicket performance in the two unofficial Test matches against the England Lions last month.
Although he did not make his debut, Akash Deep learned a lot while touring South Africa with the Indian ODI team.
"Inswing is my stock delivery, but at this level, you need to have outswing and reverse swing and more importantly need to control the swing," he claims. "I was in the ODI squad in South Africa and realised that more than skill, at this level, it is more about mental strength of being able to execute plans under pressure," Akash explained.
Although it hasn't always been easy, the 27-year-old is now at a position in his profession that he always imagined for himself. It was more complicated than just picking up a bat or ball for the young player when he was fifteen and wanted to play the game.
There was no platform in Bihar [then suspended by the BCCI], and playing cricket was illegal in Sasaram, where I was raised.
Many parents would advise their kids not to hang out with Akash since he just plays cricket and it would be detrimental to their academic performance. I don't blame them, though. In such a setting, what would you have accomplished by playing cricket? You would be squandering time, not even succeeding as a cricket player, and disregarding academics. They were worried that it would destroy your future. And my parents were, too," disclosed Akash.
The father of Akash wished that his son would choose to pursue a more traditional career path. My father used to suggest, 'Appear for the Bihar police constable's exams, or at least apply for the Class IV staff [peons] posts in the state government. He would complete those government employment application forms, and when I returned from examinations, I would turn in blank forms. Even though cricket was my love, I never considered turning it into a career simply wanted to be happy."
Tragic events, however, altered his life within six months. "Within six months, both my father and brother passed away. I felt driven to take care of the family and I had nothing to lose," Akash Deep remarked.
I used to play official leather-ball matches for my club, although at first there was no sponsorship. I would thus play tennis matches around the district three or four days a month for Rs 6000 a day. Consequently, I would make $20,000 a month, which helped me pay my bills," he continued.
Mukesh Kumar, another Bengal pacer, will be waiting for Akash when he enters the changing room in Rajkot.
"This is a matter of pride that myself and Mukesh bhai will be in the Indian dressing room together in a Test team," remarked Akash Deep. "Our state, Bengal, has given us everything. My method of thanking Bengal is through this national call-up."