Then he realized that he had been selected for the ODI series against South Africa, which starts in Lucknow on October 6.
Mukesh, 28, lost his father to a stroke last year before the final of the Ranji Trophy. He would train in the morning and then spend time next to his father’s hospital bed. “Today my mother had tears in her eyes,” Mukesh said after the news of his selection. “She was so emotional. Everyone at home started crying.”
Mukesh, from Gopalganj district in Bihar, had appeared three times for the exam to join the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) because his father wanted him to get a government job, and he is now in service of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
He is Bengal’s most consistent new-ball bowler and his five-wicket-haul for India A in the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A and a four-for on the first day of the ongoing Irani Cup game accelerated his selection in the Indian squad.
“Aapke hatehon ki kalakari bhagwan ki den hai, lekin agar unke diye huye aashirwad par mehnat nahi karoge to kuchh nahi hoga. (You can have God’s gift, but if you don’t work hard, nothing will happen),” he said. “Life is all about learning and it never stops. My aim would be to make sure that until I play cricket I would never stop learning. [VVS] Mr. Laxman told me, “Mukesh, however far you throw for Bengal and however you set up batters, just replicate that consistently.” I just followed his instructions.”
Mukesh has taken 113 wickets in 31 first-class matches, including the ongoing Irani Cup match, and has 17 wickets in 18 List A games with a 5.17 thrift percentage. He is one of those rare cricketers in recent times who made it to India’s limited overs squad without playing in the IPL.
When asked if his mother would be there to watch when he makes his debut against South Africa, Mukesh said: “Mujhe ground se dekhne se zyada meri mummy mujhe kaamyab dekhna pasand karenge. (More than my mother watches me from the ground, my mother would like to see me become successful.)”