Picture credit: Avesh Khan/Instagram
In a direct trade-off ahead of the much-anticipated retention day for IPL 2024, Rajasthan Royals have welcomed Indian fast bowler Avesh Khan into the squad. Avesh, who plied his trade for Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) for two seasons, will be replaced by batter Devdutt Padikkal, who also represented the Royals in the last two IPL editions.
A right-arm fast bowler from Madhya Pradesh, Avesh made his IPL debut back in 2017 and has since then taken rapid strides in his domestic career. In the 2021 IPL playing for the Delhi Capitals, he finished as the second-highest wicket-taker of the season with 24 scalps to his name. The following year, his 18 wickets were the most by any LSG bowler and were instrumental in his team reaching the playoffs in their first season. In 47 IPL matches so far, the 26-year-old has bagged 55 wickets at an average of 26.33.
An international call-up for India came knocking in 2022 when he made his limited-overs debut against the West Indies. In 21 international games so far, he has already taken 20 wickets. He was also part of the Indian team at the recently concluded Asian Games in China, where India finished as gold medallists. Avesh was recently named in India's T20I squad that is set to take on Australia in a five-match series starting November 23.
Avesh's addition strengthens an already solid battery of Indian fast bowlers in the Royals squad alongside Prasidh Krishna, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen and the likes. His ability to swing the ball both ways and his penchant for the occasional bouncer makes him an asset for the side.
Commenting on Avesh's signing, Royals' Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara said, "Avesh has proved his mettle in recent years to be one of the top Indian pacers in the country. He has the ability to both swing and seam the ball and is an effective asset at both the start of the innings and towards the end. He has a lot of variations in his armour which will be extremely valuable in the different conditions that we play in across the country. He will prove to be a valuable addition to our pace bowling department and we are looking forward to having him contribute to the team's successes."
The trade deal paves the way for Avesh to join his fourth IPL franchise, while Padikkal moves on to his third. 23-year-old Padikkal made his IPL debut for Royal Challengers Bangalore, impressing as a top-order batter. At the Royals, he started off by amassing 376 runs in his first season and 261 in the second. From having batted at the top at RCB to adapting to a role in the middle order at the Royals, Padikkal drew high praise for his never-say-die attitude and his measured approach, often playing an anchoring innings for the team.
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From all of us at the Royals, we would like to wish DDP all the best for his next innings!