Akash Madhwal, who engineered Mumbai Indians' comprehensive 81-run win over Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL Eliminator, doesn't consider himself as Jasprit Bumrah's replacement and is happy to fulfil the responsibility entrusted on him by the team.
Madhwal, an engineer from Uttarakhand, returned impressive figures of 5 for 5 in 3.3 overs as MI inched one step closer to the IPL summit clash on Wednesday night.
"I am trying my best to fulfil the responsibilities given to me by the team. I am not Bumrah's replacement but I'm trying my best to do what I can," Madhwal told reporters after the match.
Though the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai has not benefited the pacers much this season, Madhwal spoke about what worked for him.
"The wicket at Chepauk was good. As you saw, the ball was not gripping but skidding. I am swing-cum-seam bowler, and I pitched my deliveries in hard lengths aiming for wickets," he said.
Madhwal said skipper Rohit Sharma knew his strengths and how to use him. "Rohit bhaiya knew that yorkers were my strength but during the nets and practice matches, he also found that I can bowl well with the new ball," he said. "So he had an idea as to how to use me as the situation warranted. I'm also very chilled out and relaxed and I'm having fun because I'm pursuing my passion," he said.
Meanwhile, LSG bowler Naveen-ul-Haq said he enjoyed the "Kohli, Kohli" chants at the stadium on Wednesday as it gave him the passion to play well for his team.
During the league stage of the ongoing IPL, Naveen-ul-Haq had a heated chat with Royal Challengers Bangalore star Kohli. After the RCB-LSG game, the Afghan even posted Instagram stories about mangoes whenever the Bangalore-based outfit did not perform well in their matches.
"I enjoy it. I like everyone in the ground chanting his (Virat Kohli) name or any other player's name. It gives me passion to play well for my team," he said after his brilliant spell of 4/38 against MI, albeit in a losing cause.
"Well I don't concentrate on the outside or the noise from outside or anything else. I just focus on my own cricket and my own process. Crowd chanting or anyone saying something doesn't affect me.”
"As professional sportsmen you have to take this in your stride. When you don't do well for your team, fans are going to give it to you. And when you do good for your team, (the) same people are going to chant your name. Basically, this is part and parcel of the game," he added.
About team mentor Gautam Gambhir, who stood behind him after the on-field spat with Kohli, Naveen-ul-Haq said, "Everyone should back their players. Mentor, coach, player or anyone. I will stand for each teammate on the ground and that's what I expect from each individual also.”
"He (Gambhir) has been a legend for India, he has huge respect in India. He has given so much to Indian cricket. As a mentor, as a coach, as a legend of cricket, I respect him a lot and have learnt so many things from him. How I should go about my cricket inside the field and the same thing outside," he said.