Kishen Velani is one of many young promising cricket players currently working their way through the Essex County Cricket academy and into the first team.
With some of the more ageing stars starting to depart the team, it has opened up opportunities for the 21-year-old Englishman who has garnered a good reputation and is thought of as a terrific stroke player.
After breaking into the senior team last year, Velani was happy with his performances but admits there is a lot to learn. He told Rising East: “I started off well in the pre-season friendlies but I kind of fizzled out, and the likes of Ravi (Bopara) and Tendo (Ryan ten Doeschate) came back and I was sort of out the side a bit.
“I didn’t have as big an impact as I would have liked, but hopefully this year I can find my way up the order.”
Players in the county game are now likely to play every kind of format instead of just the one that they might prefer.
Velani describes his style as ‘built more for the one day game,’ but he’ll happily play both. “I played a lot more one-day games then four-day games,” he said. “I’m working hard at trying to break into both formats.”
Blighted at times by injury, Essex had to field some young teams, but it never disturbed the team or Velani himself, who insists: “I don’t think [pressure affected the team] even though we had a new coach. [Paul] Grayson had a lot of faith in his youngsters, and [Chris] Silverwood is the same.
“It’s really good for us youngsters to just go out and play with freedom, which Silverwood will [let us] do this year.”
Silverwood himself explained that pressure training is being used a lot to help the team get over this hump of being perennial runners-up:
“We’re doing a lot of pressure training at the moment. Hopefully that will help us get used to batting well under pressure and performing well in those must win games, and hopefully we can kick on.”