Refining game by watching YouTube, Afghan teen Mujeeb to be seen with Sunrisers in IPL

Hyderabad: After all the discussion and debate and player auction, the stage is now set for the forthcoming edition of the prestigious IPL cricket tournament. The Sunrisers Hyderabad has selected an exciting young player–Mujeeb Ur Rahman of Afghanistan. It will be interesting to watch how well he performs and how his performance will help the team.

Mujeeb is a spin bowler who has prodigious talent. His inclusion seems to be a step in the right direction since his inclusion along with that of Rashid Khan will add strength and variety to the bowling department of the Hyderabad outfit.

Mujeeb’s interest in cricket grew after he watched the 2012 World T20 Championship. He had the advantage of having his own private practice area and soon discovered his talent for spinning the ball with different variations. He also watched YouTube videos of Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis and tried to copy him.

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Being only 19 years old, Mujeeb is the baby of the team. He will however step out of his teens and become 20 on March 28 — a few days before the IPL tournament begins. Former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower has said that Mujeeb is a work in progress. The world is going to see some great deeds from this lad in future.

The youngster hails from a cricketing family. His uncles have been cricket players and so too his cousins. Their home is in the city of Khost which is the largest city in the southeastern part of the country. The city is the capital of the Khost province which is known to be a semi-arid region. But where talent in cricket is concerned it seems to be a fertile land.

Cricket is the most popular sport in the province which has produced players such as batsman Noor Ali, Ibrahim Zadran, fast bowler Dawlat Zadran and Nawroz Mangal, former captain of Afghanistan.

Khost is also the base of the Paktia Super Kings also called Paktia Panthers, a professional T20 cricket team which takes part in the Afghanistan Premier League.

Growing up surrounded by an atmosphere of cricket it was no surprise that the young Mujeeb took up the sport with great enthusiasm. He became the first player born in the 21st century to play international cricket and the youngest player to take a five wicket haul in an ODI match.

Despite his young age he shows a mature approach in the field. His unerring accuracy and his ability to land the ball in the right spot can trouble the best batsmen. English coach Andrew Moles who has coached Afghan players says that Mujeeb is a “complete package.” The young man can not only bowl off spin but also mix it up with variations of leg spin and googlies thereby making him doubly deadly.

He proved his mettle while representing team Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League in Australia. In one match against team Hobart Hurricanes, the young lad claimed three wickets in four balls to finish with a haul of five for 15. It was the best performance by any player from Brisbane Heat in the history of the Big Bash League.

He also has a determination which is commendable for a person of his age. Till now Mujeeb has grasped every opportunity that has come his way and has looked at ease every time he has stepped up to a higher level.

The teenager’s performances caught the eye of Bangladesh club Comilla Victorians who signed him on for the Bangladesh Premier League. Then in the IPL 2018 he was in the lineup of Kings XI Punjab.

So it looks like here is a young man with a bright future. How well he will perform in IPL 2021 and how well Sunrisers Hyderabad will be able to profit from his skills, remains to be seen now.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.

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