'No fear' Mujeeb to try Ashwin's tricks against India
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, one of the most vital cogs in the Kings XI Punjab spin machinery, had a remarkable season in the recent VIVO Indian Premier League. His knack of picking up wickets at crucial times and ability to bowl in the right areas, forcing the batsmen to make mistakes, made him a lethal proposition on Indian tracks.
As Afghanistan prepare to face India in the test match to be held in Bengaluru on Thursday, the mystery spinner is looking to extend his impressive run into the international format. And there is one particular weapon that he is itching to use; an unconventional delivery taught to him by India’s own Thalaiva of spin, Ravichandran Ashwin.
“I spent a lot of time with Ashwin at the nets and it was really helpful. He told me spots where to bowl. He has also taught me a new ball and I am trying to learn it. It is a carrom ball with an off-spin action,” Mujeeb revealed to the PTI news agency.
Coming into the season, Mujeeb had mentioned Ashwin to be one of the players he had learned a lot from by watching his videos on YouTube. Now, after sharing the dressing room with the wily off-spinner, one can only imagine how much he must have absorbed.
The youngster’s exploits at the U-19 stage and recently in the IPL earned him an international call up, in spite of not having played at the First Class level. Things have been moving fast in the youngster’s cricketing career. However, he insists that his young age and lack of overall experience are no hindrance and that having played at the highest level has taught him how to handle pressure effectively.
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman of Afghanistan could become first 21st century-born Test cricketer this week and also first in 13 years to make first-class and Test debut in the same match. Last was Nazmul Hossain in 2004. #INDvAFG— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) June 10, 2018
"I have played high-level cricket already so there is no fear going into the Test. Thanks to the IPL, I know how to handle pressure. I don't fear playing against any opposition. It used to play on my mind but not anymore,” said the spinner.
Facing the daunting task of playing India in India, something even the best teams in international cricket struggle with, it is obvious that the pressure will be on the Afghanistan team. But, having chalked out clear plans, Mujeeb feels his team is equal to the challenge.
"I have already figured out how to go about my business (during the Test). Virat Kohli is not playing but there are other batsmen like Ajinkya Rahane and Lokesh Rahul who are also very good. We won't be taking anyone lightly.
"The good thing is that I have already played against and alongside the big players in the IPL. I will utilise all of that in the Test," said Mujeeb.