Shivam Mavi, the 21-year-old Kolkata Knight Riders quick, impressed in the side’s first game of IPL 2020, picking up two wickets and maintaining commendable control both with the new ball and at the death.
Injuries have held back Mavi, who has showcased his ability to bowl express pace in his short but impressive career, which gathered steam after an impressive showing at the 2018 U19 World Cup. Despite missing the 2019 IPL, he was retained by Kolkata Knight Riders for this season.
The early days
Mavi, born in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, in 1998, broke into Delhi’s U14 side, before shifting base and linking up with the Uttar Pradesh U16 team. By the age of 16, he had broken into the state U19 side.
In early 2017, he made it to the Board President’s XI against the visiting England U19 team in Mumbai, where he cleaned up Tom Banton [who is now in the same IPL team as Mavi] with a searing yorker in the opening game. His raw pace paved the way for a spot in India’s U19 team, and soon he was named in the squad for next year’s U19 World Cup.
2018 U19 World Cup and IPL
At the 2018 U19 World Cup under Prithvi Shaw, Mavi found a bigger platform to showcase his abilities, helping India win their fourth title. With his bustling build up to the crease and jerky action, he picked nine wickets in six games, the joint-most for India alongside Kamlesh Nagarkoti. Against Australia, Mavi cranked up speeds of over 140kph, going as far up as the 149-mark, and impressing former West Indies quick and commentator Ian Bishop.
WATCH: Super swing from Shivam Mavi! How do you stop that?!
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) January 16, 2018
Before heading to New Zealand for the World Cup, both Mavi and Nagarkoti found themselves with lucrative IPL contracts for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Mavi bagged a contract of INR 3 crore, fifteen times his base price in the auction.
IPL breakthrough and first-class debut
In his first game for KKR in IPL 2018, Shivam Mavi bowled just the one over but went on to play eight more games in a season in which spinners dominated for the franchise, picking up nine wickets.
Soon after his T20 debut in the IPL, Mavi found a place in the List A Quadrangular series, which featured two Indian teams and ‘A’ sides from Australia and South Africa. In his maiden List A game for Uttar Pradesh, he picked up a hat-trick against Saurashtra.
Great to see Shivam Mavi back playing and doing well. We can only pray that the cricketing gods smile on him and bless him with continued good health. #ICCU19CWC2018
— Ian bishop (@irbishi) September 23, 2020
Mavi made it to the Uttar Pradesh first-class team, where he took a four-wicket haul on debut against Goa – he played five more first-class games, picking up a total of 25 wickets at 21.60, following which he was sidelined with injury.
Injuries and comeback
Before his spell against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi, Mavi hadn’t played competitive cricket since December 2019, having spent considerable time, including the Covid-19 enforced lockdown, recovering from a stress fracture.
Returning to action via the IPL, Mavi held his own around overseas pros like Pat Cummins and Andre Russell, picking up wickets of Quinton de Kock with the new ball, and returning to snare Rohit Sharma on 80. The spell earned praise from skipper Dinesh Karthik after the game, who said Mavi’s “shaping up well and it’s a good sign for KKR”.
Among those who were impressed by Mavi in 2018 was Australia great Brett Lee, who, during that year’s IPL, called him the future of Indian bowling.
“I think Mavi has got everything,” Lee said. “His actions are beautiful and he packs himself as a fully furnished bowler. With youngsters like Mavi, it’s extremely important to play with confidence, enjoying the spirit of the game.”
“He knows what he is doing and it looks like he really enjoys his cricket. I think Mavi, for me, is the future for Indian bowlers.”