IPL 2018: Wealthy Afghan spinner Mujeeb Zadran eyes rich haul

Updated: Mar 21, 2018, 11:10 IST | Gaurav Joshi

Teen sensation Mujeeb Zadran of Afghanistan, who was purchased for R4 crore by Kings XI Punjab at the Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction on Sunday

Mujeeb Zadran
Mujeeb Zadran

Teen sensation Mujeeb Zadran of Afghanistan, who was purchased for R4 crore by Kings XI Punjab at the Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction on Sunday, is a stark contrast to many of his compatriots. While most of Afghanistan's current crop of players have had to confront hardship, Mujeeb has had a fairly comfortable ride so far.

The mystery bowler, who lost his father at a young age and was raised by his mother's family, has had the luxury of training at an academy inside the family's home which is a sprawling mansion. "I grew up in a haveli (large bungalow). We have a huge playground, a series of guest houses and even a small zoo," he explains in his native, Pashto.

Inside the home, Mujeeb's first cousin and current Afghanistan player, Noor Zadran has set-up a cricketing facility which he refers to as the Noor Academy. Mujeeb's love for cricket began after watching the Afghan national team at the 2010 ICC World T20 event, a tournament where Noor represented Afghanistan. "I went to Noor Academy, that's where I began training and started to play the game. I must've been around 11 or 12 then. Later, I went to the Kost province academy," he added.

Mujeeb explained that his obsession of flicking a tennis ball with his fingers led him into develop ing a passion for spin bowling. "I started playing a lot of tape ball cricket [where a tennis ball is covered with plastic tap]. While bowling with that ball, I struggled to grip it [due to its smoothness], so I started flicking the ball with my fingers. Then, I watched some youtube videos of Sunil Narine [West Indies spinner] and Ajantha Mendis [Sri Lankan spinner] and learnt how they gripped the ball and flicked it with their middle finger. I started doing that and initially did not put power behind it.

It would be like a flighted off-spinner, but lowly, and after a lot practice, I eventually began to get some power behind my deliveries and was able to flick it harder" he said. Now, armed with a googly, a carom ball and a genuine off-break, Mujeeb is all set to grab the headlines at IPL-11. And of course with that Rs. 4 crore in his bank account, he might just have enough money to own his own haveli too.

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