Who is Mohsin Khan, Lucknow’s go-to man in the death over?
Khan rejoined the squad midway but managed to keep his nerves in control in only his second game in IPL 2023, soon after he went for 42 runs for just one wicket against GTs in the previous game
Mohsin Khan, the tall left-arm seamer of the Lucknow Super Giants, was taking a deep breath each time he was walking back to the top of his run-up in that crucial last over against the Mumbai Indians. It was his effort to ‘keep calm,’ as he admitted after his match-winning effort – for too much was at stake.
While he and his colleagues were on the edge as they sensed their chance of turning the match on it’s head, so was their owner Sanjiv Goenka, one of the leading industrial barons of the country. The TV cameras repeatedly focused on him praying with a lucky charm as young Khan was trying his tricks to keep the dangerous Tim David and Cameron Green quiet.
‘’I am impressed by the composure and patience shown by Mohsin Khan in that last over. Not an easy task even for an experienced bowler. Saw some really good performances from him in the last season as well. Definitely a one for the future,’’ tweeted Lasith Malinga, the bowling mentor of the Rajasthan Royals, who knows a thing or two about winning matches in the last over.
Perched in third position of the table, the Lucknow-based franchise has one foot in the play-offs (if they can beat the Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday) with Khan – a son of the soil as the cliché goes – signalling his comeback after a shoulder injury kept him out of competitive cricket for an entire year.
After the 24-year-old from Sambhal in UP made his mark on the IPL debut in 2022 with 14 wickets from nine matches, the injury forced him off the radar. He rejoined the squad midway this season but managed to keep his nerves in control in only his second game in the IPL 2023, soon after he went for 42 runs for just one wicket against the Gujarat Titans in the previous game.
Managing to slide his yorkers below the bat of David and mixing it up with the slower ones, Khan gave away only five runs in that fateful over to earn his team an extremely valuable two points. The figures of 3-0-26-1 may look insignificant against an explosive 89 by Player of the Match Marcus Stoinis earlier, but the Australian allrounder’s effort would have come to nought but for that last over.
It was hardly a surprise that Khan was immensely thankful to his franchise for keeping the faith on him through the tough times. Last year, he earned major words of praise from skipper KL Rahul as Khan and Avesh turned a potent new ball combination for the then new franchise. ‘’He (Mohsin Khan) has been brilliant, played him in the nets for the first time a month ago, didn’t want to face him, seriously. He was sharp, he’s scary at times in the nets.
‘’It’s not just the pace, he has a good brain, has a bit of skill as well, has a great slower one and he knows when to use them,’’ Rahul had said after a four-wicket haul by Khan.
Life seems to be coming back on track for him as Khan’s father, who was at the ICU for last 10 days, has been just released – making the family breathe a sigh of relief. “Sadly, my father was in the hospital, in the ICU, he just got discharged yesterday so I was playing the match for him,” Khan told the broadcasters. “He was probably watching the game on TV. So I was playing for him. He was in the ICU for the last ten days. He must be very happy.”
Khan also thanked the LSG team management for backing him despite leaking runs against the GT in Ahmedabad. “I am also very grateful for the faith shown in me by the team. My last game wasn’t good but they played me in this one,” he said. “Especially Gautam [Gambhir] sir, Vijay [Dahiya] sir and the rest of the support staff, they showed trust in me and played me.”
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