TN rookie pacer V Athisayaraj Davidson is called ‘Malinga’ in Chennai cricket circles for a reason. The 25-year-old slinger has created an impact in domestic cricket in his maiden T20 season.
The pacer from Thoothukudi, who has taken 10 wickets in five T20 League South Zone matches, including a five-for against Karnataka, has grabbed the attention of IPL franchises. Athisayaraj, who shot to limelight with his unique skills in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) representing Tuti Patriots, is set to attend a trial with the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
Athisayaraj started his career with the Globe Trotters in 2015 after TN pacer Sunil Sam saw him bowl during a university match and suggested him to the MRF-run side. TNPL turned out be the launching pad. “Slinging action was something natural for me. As a kid, I played a lot of tennis ball and rubber ball cricket. It transformed into league cricket. (MRF coach) Senthilnathan sir has guided me over the last three years with utmost care. TNPL gave me an ideal chance to showcase my skills in T20 format. L Balaji (TN bowling coach) made me understand how best to use my freakish action to my advantage,” Athisayaraj told TOI.
Athisayaraj knows he is in the radar of franchises but “doesn’t want” to put pressure on himself. “A lot of people have told me that I could get into the IPL this year. It would be great if I get a chance this time. However, I’m not keeping that in mind. The T20 performances in Vizag have certainly given me the confidence that I belong at this level,” he added.