From Making Pitches with a desire to be a pace bowler to getting a maiden call for India as a leg spinner. The stage is set for the Googly bowler India has been searching for since the departure of Anil Kumble.
The cricketing journey of Ravi Bishnoi is no less than that of a roller coaster ride for the young fellow. From making ground fit for training in the early days to being stared at 2020 Under 19 World Cup. He drove to the headlines, which bagged him a contract at IPL with Punjab Kings. He impressed everyone with his talent, skills, and unique bowling style.
The last few days have been quite eventful for the young talent hailing from Jodhpur, famous for its forts and not cricket. He was a part of an early draft submitted by the new Lucknow franchise of the IPL before the next month's main auction doubling his paycheck to Rs 4 crores. A few days later, he got his maiden call to India's squad in the ODI and T20 for the home series against West Indies.
The 21-year-old's journey wasn't a bed of roses. Initially, he had a tough time getting into the shoes of a professional cricketer. It was then when he went on to quit his cricketing journey, his early career coaches convinced authorities to have a look at him once again.
Bishnoi was given a chance, and he got selected as a talented U-19 batsman in the state team twice. His big break came when he grabbed five wickets in the first game of the Vinoo Mankad Trophy. Bishnoi had arrived and hasn't looked back since.
The story of this young spinner is similar to the trajectory of a Googly. in his earlier days, Bishnoi wanted to be a medium-pacer, but his coaches wanted him to become a spin bowler owing to his physique. They explained their rationale as:
There were hardly any leg-spinners in India around four-five years ago. We felt there were more chances for a leg-spinner to play higher cricket, especially a leggie who can bat. Leg-spin is an art, and it takes time and perfection. At the same time, he was too small, he used to run like a medium-pacer, he didn't have a strong shoulder or strong legs."
What impressed the coach was the difference in his action and the trajectory of the deliveries.
"Ravi is a unique leg break spinner. It was natural for him. If you go by the book, what happens with a leg-spinner is that the left hand should come up straight like a clock hand at 12 o'clock. Bishnoi would come from, say 11 o'clock. I would say a bit like Anil Kumble, tilting a touch to his left side. Also, a leg-spinner would normally take a run-up of around seven yards; Ravi's goes to 12-14 yards, That release angle has helped the trajectory be a touch different from usual, making the googly a bit more challenging to pick.The Googly skids on, giving not much time for the batsmen to adjust," Pathan says (his coach).
Like most young players, Ravi has also been groomed under the supervision of the current Indian coach Rahul Dravid at NCA. Dravid told the youngster that he reminded him of Kumble. He advised against changing Bishnoi's action and that if any coach tries, ask them to speak to him first.
With a staggering 100% increase in his IPL salary clubbed with the Team India call, Ravi is having the time of his life. Expectations will only increase from here, and who knows, he might become India's table-turning bowler if he makes it to playing XI in the upcoming series against West Indies.