Dubey: From net bowling to IPL runners-up medal

Praveen Dubey: From net bowling to IPL runners-up medal

Pravin Dubey.

Praveen Dubey began the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League as a net bowler. He finished the cash-rich tournament with a runners-up medal. From bowling to Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the practice sessions to receiving harsh lessons from Rohit Sharma in the title clash, the Karnataka leg-spinner had an eventful tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubey was picked as a net bowler by the Royal Challengers Bangalore but a finger injury to Amit Mishra opened the Delhi Capitals’ doors to him. The 27-year-old played three games, including the final, against eventual champions Mumbai Indians.

“It was a surreal experience,” Dubey told DH on Wednesday. “On the night of the final, I was telling myself that ‘during this time, you would actually be preparing for the domestic season back home. But here you are, playing the final, after coming to the tournament as a net bowler’. It felt nice,” he said.

Dubey, who has 16 wickets from 17 T20s at an average of 23.62, was in the RCB set-up in 2016 and 2017 but didn’t get a chance to make his IPL debut. Bowling to the two stalwarts in the RCB squad had made him match-ready.

“Virat bhai told me about the areas to work on. Bowling to de Villiers built my confidence,” said Dubey.

For many unheralded cricketers, IPL gives an opportunity to share the dressing room with the greats of the game. Dubey got a chance to interact with Ricky Ponting, the former Australian World Cup-winning captain. In the summit tie, before Capitals’ stepped out to defend 156, head coach Ponting was seen having an animated chat with Dubey.

“Ponting had told me to be ready for my chance. The management was impressed after watching my videos from Syed Mushtaq Ali and Karnataka Premier League. During the final, Ponting was keeping me calm. He asked me not to feel extra pressure and just bowl the way I did in the domestic cricket,” he recollected.

Dube failed to pick a wicket from his three chances and the final exposed his inexperience against a quality batsman like Rohit. The Mumbai Indians skipper carted him for two sixes in a 14-run over.

“We needed wickets, so I attacked in my second over. But I bowled too full and against Rohit, the margin of error is less. IPL teaches you these tough lessons,” he explained.