‘I totally agree with Rohit Bhaiya’: Mukesh Kumar backs India skipper’s comments on player’s privacy

Mukesh Kumar with Rohit Sharma
Mukesh Kumar with Rohit Sharma (PC: X)

Mukesh Kumar, the India and Delhi Capitals pace bowler, has backed Rohit Sharma’s recent comments on X (formerly Twitter) about players’ privacy. The Indian captain lashed out at the host broadcaster for telecasting his conversations despite him requesting them not to. Mukesh was one of the standout performers for Delhi in the IPL this season. The fast bowler from Bengal picked 17 wickets from 10 games and was quite impressive. He will be in action in the upcoming Bengal Pro T20 League organized by CAB. In a freewheeling chat with RevSportz, Mukesh shared his views on his IPL performance, Rishabh Pant’s captaincy,  the disappointment of missing out on the India squad for T20 World Cup, how he handles pressure, the BCCI’s decision to start the season with Ranji Trophy, Rohit’s recent social media post and much more. Here are the excerpts:

Do you think Rohit Sharma was right in voicing his opinion about players’ privacy when it comes to media coverage?

Mukesh: I totally agree with Rohit Bhaiya. Every cricketer has a private life. It is a humble request to the media – please refrain from getting into the privacy of the players. And if he (Rohit Sharma) was having a personal chat with close friends, what was the need to record it? Woh banda galat nahin bol sakta hain kisike bare mein. Main janta hu unko. Jo bola hain woh sahi bola (He cannot say anything wrong about others. I know him and what he said was right).

Mukesh, are you satisfied with the way you performed in IPL 2024?

Mukesh: I am happy with the way I performed in IPL 2024. I missed a couple of matches because of injury. But overall, I will say I am satisfied. This was a very important season for me and I reckon I did reasonably well.

How do you sum up Delhi Capitals’ season, finishing 6th on the points table?

Mukesh: We lost a few matches at the beginning of the season by small margins. The combination was not perfect. We failed in key matches and that was the reason we did not make it to the playoffs. We did not perform as a team in a few matches. [Rishabh] Pant was brilliant as captain. He was excellent behind the stumps and was at his best with the bat.

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For DC, there have been a few standout performers this season like Rishabh Pant, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Tristan Stubbs. Do you reckon lack of contributions from everyone affected the result?

Mukesh: As I said, we played good cricket as a team in patches. We were not consistent enough. There were useful contributions from individuals, but overall, we failed as a team. Pant was brilliant as a leader.

How impressive was Rishabh Pant, and what will you say about his comeback?

Mukesh: He [Pant] is a fighter. The way he came back after that horrific car accident was unbelievable. He not only returned to the field but made his presence felt with those big sixes in IPL. He was outstanding behind the wickets and took some stunning catches. He made a very useful contribution both as a leader and as a wicketkeeper-batter.

How was the experience of bowling to Rishabh and what inputs did you get from him?

Mukesh: We share a friendly banter with each other. At times, I went up to him and said I wanted to try something different while bowling. And then, when it did not click, he used to come and say why he insisted I not try the same. We shared our thoughts on what line I should bowl at a particular batsman. He always assigned a role for me, that I must bowl at difficult periods in the match.

How big a role will Rishabh Pant play for India during the upcoming T20 World Cup?

Mukesh: The team management will have to decide on his role. But I am confident whatever role he is assigned, he will do well. Fans will enjoy his batting.

Mukesh Kumar in action for DC in IPL 2024
Mukesh Kumar in action for DC in IPL 2024 (PC: IPL/X)

How disappointing was it to miss the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup?

Mukesh: To tell you honestly, I was disappointed because, as you know, the World Cup is a big stage. It is a dream for every cricketer to represent his country in a World Cup. But I have no problem. Whoever the selectors considered is a good choice, and has been in the side. I am confident we will do well as a team, and I will cheer for them with my family.  My best wishes will always be with my team.

Jasprit Bumrah has bowled superbly ever since he made his comeback from injury. What do you get to learn from him?

Mukesh: Whenever I meet him, I always get a positive vibe. How he handles pressure is simply brilliant. I always enjoy watching him bowl according to situations. IPL is such a big stage and there is so much pressure associated. But despite the pressure, he brings out his best consistently.

How do you look at the fast-bowling group in the squad?

Mukesh: Both [Mohammed] Siraj and Arshdeep [Singh] have done well for the country. Siraj is a very experienced bowler, while Arshdeep too has played for India in the last T20 World Cup. In IPL, there will be ups and downs as there are 14 matches. Siraj has done well in the last few matches for RCB. So, hopefully, they will do well.

How do you handle mental pressure?

Mukesh: For me, personally, I do not use social media. And more so during the camps and national duty. As professional cricketers, we must get used to handling pressure. You cannot point a finger at an individual for not doing well in a particular match. You must see his record over the years. Fans should back the players who are representing the country.

Mukesh Kumar for DC
Mukesh Kumar for DC (PC: IPL/X)

You rely mostly on seam bowling, at least in red-ball cricket, but what we saw in IPL, you were used in a new role of death over specialist. Your thoughts?

Mukesh: I really enjoy the role. From a very young age when I used to play district games or tennis ball cricket, my role was to bowl at the start of the innings and towards the end. As you know in tennis ball cricket bowlers get hammered all over the park. It is very difficult to bowl at the death. I have gone through this and I enjoy this role. At times yes, things might not fall in place.

BCCI has recently announced that the season will start with the Ranji Trophy before the white ball format. How do you look at the decision?

Mukesh: It is a very good decision by BCCI. There used to be hardly any time for recovery for fast bowlers particularly. It is great to hear that there will be more gaps between matches so the players will get more time to recover.

Finally, CAB is all set to start the Bengal Pro T20 League. How do you look at this tournament?

Mukesh: I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CAB for organizing this tournament. It is a great platform for the young players. The matches will be telecasted live. All I can say to every youngster is to try and perform to the best and give their hundred percent.

Also read: Let common sense judge how much is too much in invasion of privacy