If you ask Kings XI Punjab’s 2019 auction pick Agnivesh Ayachi about his younger days, he will tell you that he has spent most of it excelling in sports. As a school student, he slugged it out on the tennis court with his peers and also played football for the school team. When he wasn’t excelling outdoors, he was owning it with a paddle indoors, winning a school table-tennis championship in his teens.

But cricket was always his first love. His biggest passion. There was something in particular about fast-bowling that kept the youngster invested in cricket. “The reason I became a fast bowler was because I had a really bad temper,” recalls Ayachi. “When I’d get hit for a boundary, I’d go up to the batsman and say something and the coach would tell me that is perfectly fine.”

Over the years, Ayachi has managed to channel his aggression into his art as it helps him bowl fearlessly to a batsman. The pacer feels that having an aggressive approach is the hallmark of every great fast bowler, something he aims to be. “A fast bowler needs to have that anger, otherwise you cannot excel at it,” asserts Ayachi.

His fiery mindset is befitting of his first name, which literally translates to ‘one who wears fire as an attire’. “I always try to pressurize the batsman when he’s on the crease. My mindset isn’t to get dot balls or get through the over. Making the batsman uncomfortable is what I aim for,” said the pacer.

Channeling his anger into his bowling out on the field has also served as a release for Ayachi. Explaining how bowling help him stay calm, Ayachi said “When I bowl hard, it really helps me blow off some steam. I come home after practice and I feel relaxed and laid back and I just chill with my family or friends. It is soothing.”

The 24-year-old is the first player from the Kutch region of Gujarat to have been picked for a VIVO Indian Premier League team, showing his latent potential and talent. With his quick pace and ability to swing the ball both directions, Ayachi promises to be a prudent investment for the future for KXIP.

Like many great fast bowlers, Ayachi retains an aggressive streak through his spell to ensure he bowls well, make the batsman uneasy at the crease and most importantly, pick up crucial wickets for his team. And while that has served him well so far in his cricketing journey, the pacer has a lot more pent up fire that he is waiting to unleash.