Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar elated after India selection: My dream is finally in front of me

By India Today Sports Desk: Bengal and Delhi Capitals pacer Mukesh Kumar has earned a maiden call-up in the Indian Test squad for the tour of West Indies. Set to be played in July, Kumar gets his chance after consistent performances in domestic arena and a debut season in the Indian Premier League.

Speaking about his call-up in the national team, Kumar in an interview with news agency PTI has said that his dreams are finally in front of him.

"Kehte hai na agar aap Test nahin khele toh kya khele... (Like they say, what have you done if you didn't play Tests)," the Bengal pacer told PTI after being selected in the Test and ODI squads for the upcoming tour of the West Indies.

"My dream is now in front of me. I always wanted to be here -- to play Tests for India. And, I've finally arrived," Kumar further added.

Mukesh Kumar's rise began in the 2018/19 season with Bengal. After continued sturggle for several years in the domestic arena, he impressed with 22 wickets from five matches and went on to form Bengal's formidable three-pronged pace attack with Ishan Porel and Akash Deep who took Bengal to two Ranji Trophy finals, in 2019-20 and 2022-23.

He has not looked back since then. An India A regular, Mukesh has 18 wickets at 17.50 average including five-fors against New Zealand A and Bangladesh A.

"I'm sure dad would be happy now seeing my rise," an emotional Mukesh continued.

"Mummy, papa's support will always be there and to all my friends for believing in me... Vision 2020. Sourav Ganguly Sir, Joydeep (Mukherjee) Sir and my guru Ranadeb Bose sir who has always guided me in red-ball cricket," he said, dedicating his rise to them.

"Without their help, I don't think I would have survived," said Mukesh who has 149 wickets at 22.55 from just 39 first-class matches.

He also has six five-wicket hauls to his name.

"From where I began and where I'm now, it feels completely surreal," Mukesh said.

A tireless workhorse, where does Mukesh get the consistency from?

"It's simple. I always give my 100 per cent in whatever I do, and I will keep doing the same thing."

The pacer was impressive in his debut season in the Indian Premier League, but felt that he had more in his tank. It is yet to be seen if he gets to play his maiden Test match or not. The pacer will have competition from Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat.

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