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IPL-17 | Mukesh and Hangargekar out on the sidelines but are raring to go for Chennai Super Kings

A file photo of Chennai Super Kings’ Mukesh Chaudhary.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mukesh Choudhary has been on a roller-coaster ride over the last two years. The left-arm pacer made a mark in his debut season for Chennai Super Kings in 2022, finishing as the team’s highest wicket-taker with 16 scalps.

He impressed with his ability to swing the new ball and even travelled to Australia as a net-bowler for the T20 World Cup. Just when he thought he could press ahead, he suffered twin injuries — a rib fracture and then a lower back issue that kept him out of the game for 15 months. Having recovered, the Maharashtra pacer is now ready, but knows he must bide his time before he can return to on-field action.

“Coming from an injury, it is difficult to get into the team. We have eight fast bowlers this year, so being in the eleven is difficult. When you are back from an injury, you have to start from zero,” said Mukesh during a recent media interaction. “Tushar (Deshpande) and Deepak (Chahar) bhai have bowled well, so they should get a chance before me. It’s frustrating when you sit out but, I am waiting for my chance,” he added.

Like Mukesh, his Maharashtra teammate Rajvardhan Hangargekar, too, has had to contend with warming the benches. CSK got the pacer in 2022 after his exploits in the under-19 World Cup that year and has played only two matches so far (in 2023).

The 21-year-old said that while he needed the first year to get used to the format, he was ready now. When asked how he was handling being on the bench, the U-19 World Cup winner said that reassurance from coaches helps.

“It’s never easy to be out when you are doing well in domestic cricket. You never know; it might take a few days or a few years for that one opportunity. As a professional, you have to be very patient. I talk with coaches and they give us the clarity as to why one is not playing,” said Hangargekar.

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