Tag Archives: Cricketer

De Villiers praises ‘calm’ Abdulla


Bengaluru :

RCB’s star batsman AB de Villiers , who guided his team into the IPL final with an unbeaten 47-ball 79 against Gujarat Lions, praised teammate Iqbal Abdulla  for his ‘fantastic’ support. Coming together with the side at 68/6 while chasing 159 on a tricky M Chinnaswamy stadium wicket, Abdulla held his own with an unbeaten 33 off 25 balls to see the home side through with 10 balls to spare.

The South African said he knew from the look in Abdulla’s eyes that the young man was determined to finish the job. “I thought I’d have to say a lot to him but he was probably more calm than me,” De Villiers said. “When he walked up, you could see that he had done this before. He had a calm head and straightaway understood what I was telling him. I didn’t have to talk to him after that. You can see it when you have a connection with someone. He was there to win the game for the team and cross the line with me.”

“I had a lot of self-belief,” said the 26-year-old Abdulla, who has a first class century to his name. “AB only told me to watch the ball and play my shots and that is what I did.”

De Villiers admitted that the wicket was unlike what the teams are used to here, with a total of eight wickets falling in the Powerplay overs. “It was a funny kind of wicket. While we were bowling, I thought anything more than 160 and we would be in trouble. It didn’t seem like a wicket where you can just go out and score. I always felt we needed a foundation in the first six overs but we didn’t get that,” he said, hailing Lions pacer Dhawal Kulkarni for his four-wicket burst.

With a light drizzle midway through e the RCB  innings, De Villiers admitted that the prospect of the tie being decided via the Duckworth-Lewis method had t prompted the team to be more positive in their approach.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> Sports> IPL / TNN / May 26th, 2016

Nayeem Bhat: A star snuffed out

Nayeem Bhat didn’t hesitate to travel 60 kilometres to Srinagar to rub shoulders with the who’s who of Kashmir cricket. © Nayeem Bhat’s Facebook page
Nayeem Bhat didn’t hesitate to travel 60 kilometres to Srinagar to rub shoulders with the who’s who of Kashmir cricket. © Nayeem Bhat’s Facebook page

“If I die and go to heaven, I’ll put the name of Star Eleven on golden star, So that angels can see, How much Star Eleven means to me,” read a Facebook post from Nayeem Bhat.

He wrote it in 2014. Now, that ‘if’ is a reality. Nayeem is dead. He won’t represent Star Eleven – a cricket club in north Kashmir’s Handwara town – any more. His all-round brilliance is history. A bullet has silenced the face of cricket in Handwara forever.

Nayeem, a 21-year-old allrounder, had a dream. A cricketing one. Make it big in the sport. Play with the best. Play for Jammu & Kashmir. Maybe, someday, play for India. Like many youngsters in this part of the world, his room was dotted with the posters of cricket stars. Virat Kohli and Parveez Rasool, now team-mates at Royal Challengers Bangalore, featured prominently.

Nayeem played the sport with passion, doing everything to improve his game. He didn’t hesitate to travel 60 kilometres to Srinagar, the state’s cricket capital, to rub shoulders with the who’s who of Kashmir cricket. The men that matter acknowledged his talent. Kashmir Gymkhana, one of the premier clubs affiliated with the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, recruited him to play for them. One small step towards realising his ambition. But his journey had a terrible end. A dream to be weaved with bat and ball was shattered by a bullet – another instance of cricket and conflict being intertwined in Kashmir.

Nayeem’s death has left the cricketing community in Kashmir in a state of mourning, for his team-mates and coaches believed he had all the ingredients to be a ‘perfect allrounder’. Nayeem, his coaches said, had a repeatable action and his height gave him lift off the deck at pace decent enough to trouble the batsmen. He was also good enough as a batsman to play in the middle order for the teams he represented during his short career.

Nayeem’s cricketing journey coincided with that of Akeel Ahmad, his childhood friend and an Under-19 player for J&K. For Akeel, Nayeem was a rival on the cricket field, but best buddy off it. The duo was on a mission: to make otherwise neglected Handwara part of the cricketing landscape.

Nayeem and Akeel were together just half an hour before they were separated forever. Before the fateful moment, they were busy doing what they often did when not playing cricket: photography. Done with their session, Akeel said, they went to the market. Suddenly, an assembly of protesters caught their attention.

Nayeem was called by his brother, a journalist, asking for a camera. “I left the spot and after sometime got to know Nayeem was hit by a bullet,” said Akeel. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Bhat’s room was dotted with the posters of cricket stars – Virat Kohli and Parveez Rasool featured prominently. © Nayeem Bhat’s Facebook page
Bhat’s room was dotted with the posters of cricket stars – Virat Kohli and Parveez Rasool featured prominently. © Nayeem Bhat’s Facebook page

Akeel told Wisden India that he was in awe of Nayeem’s work ethic and passion. “Nayeem would play for Star Eleven, and I played for Handwara Cricket Club. We used to play against each other very often. Nayeem was someone I have known closely. He was my fiercest rival on the field, but we were buddies off it,” he said.

“We would discuss cricket more often than not. He wanted to improve all the time. He had his eyes on top-flight cricket. He was very keen on his fitness, and would train hard. I am shattered by his death. I don’t know how to cope with his loss. This is a huge loss to cricket, and Handwara town in particular. He was trying his best to give our town a cricketing name.”

Nayeem’s coaches remember him as someone who didn’t hesitate to ask questions about his game. Manzoor Ahmad Dar, coach of Kashmir Gymkhana Club, was impressed with what he saw of his young charge. “Nayeem was a very humble and down-to-earth cricketer and he took his game seriously,” Dar told a daily. “Nayeem was a dedicated cricketer and would come all the way to Srinagar from Handwara to practice and train. He had skill and the temperament to improve all the time. We are in complete shock over his death.”

Nayeem’s death has social networking sites abuzz, with Kashmiris expressing their sorrow and sadness.

The young allrounder had a brush with franchise-based Twenty20 cricket, playing two seasons for Srinagar’s Pride Riders in the Downtown Champions League. Mubashir Hassan, a coach licensed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, is a mentor of the team. Hassan is understandably devastated by the death of his talented ward, who called him often for tips. Nayeem wouldn’t mind calling him on his phone for tips, remembered Hassan.

“Nayeem had a bright future and promising career ahead,” he told Wisden India. “He was a keen learner and I had high hopes of him. He had that hunger and passion that impressed one and all. This will have a huge impact on the players who have played with and against Nayeem. They will be mentally scarred, and it will take them some time to come out of it.”

His parents used to call him Gavaskar, while some of his friends compared him to Martin Guptill, the New Zealand opener. On Tuesday (April 12), a bullet claimed Star Eleven’s brightest star. Hopefully, the angels will realise what his local side and the game of cricket meant to Nayeem.

Waheed Mirza is a journalist in Srinagar. He tweets @mirzawaheedz.

source: http://www.wisdenindia.com / Wisden India / Home / by Waheed Mirza / April 15th, 2016

Can Kaif relive Lord’s magic in Phulpur ?

It was a mammoth task: England had set India a target of 326 at Lord’s in the July 2002NatWest final. In those pre-T 20 days, teams seldom piled up such huge scores, forget chasing them. India, after a robust start, lost five wickets in five overs. Mohammed Kaif came in at no 7, when India were 5 for 146. What happened after that is history. Kaif went on to become the man of the match, hitting an unbeaten 87 off 75 balls, and steering India to a famous victory that most now remember as the match where skipper Sourav Ganguly took off his blue jersey and did a victory dance.

Twelve years later, Kaif has another big challenge. He is the Congress candidate from Phulpur in Allahabad, a onetime Congressbastion from where Jawaharlal Nehru, and then his sister, Vijaylakshmi Pandit, contested. But the last time Congress won there was in 1984. Kaif is pitted against BSP’s Kapil Muni Karwariya, the sitting MP, and SP’s Dharma Raj Patel. BJP is yet to announce its candidate.

“I realize it is a Herculean task,” says 33-year-old Kaif, who is from Allahabad. “I am a newcomer to politics. But as an internationalcricketer, I am ready to take up the challenge and give it my best shot.”

A couple of weeks back, he was in a mall in Delhi and bumped into Rahul Gandhi. “He asked me if I was interested in contesting. He told me that more and more youngsters need to join politics from all walks of life. He inspired me to take up the challenge… I agreed to his offer,” says Kaif.

His cricket career was going nowhere. He was dropped from Team India in 2006. He was playing domestic cricket and IPL matches, but this seasos, he was ignored at the IPL auctions.

But he knew people in the Congress inner circle like Union minister Rajiv Shukla. Besides, he “met Rahulji whenever he came to watch our matches”. “I am no stranger to the party,” he says.

Kaif is married to Noida-based journalist Pooja and has a two-year-old son. “Our family has been a very liberal, sporting family. My father Tarif played first-class cricket for UP and Railways. So did my brother Saif. We have always been told to respect all religions and cultures. Besides, onsports fields only your performances and behaviour matter, not your religion or caste.” UP politics, though, is another story.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> Specials / by Santosh Suri , TNN / March 17th, 2014

Young fast bowler Javed Khan included in Delhi squad

New Delhi:

Young pacer Javed Khan has been included in the Delhi squad for their final Ranji Trophy group league encounter against Karnataka at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground from Monday.

Javed, who was a part of the U-25 squad has replaced an injured Parvinder Awana, who sustained a back injury during the last match against Punjab. Left-arm seamer Pawan Suyal has been dropped as burly left-arm spinner Manan Sharma comes into the side.

Manan and Varoon Sood will be the two spinning options apart from Virender Sehwag and Mithun Manhas who can bowl off-breaks. Meanwhile, the anti faction of the DDCA led by Bishan Singh Bedi, Madan Lal, Kirti Azad and Surinder Khanna will be sitting on a dharna infront of the Kotla on Monday, to protest against the proxy system run by the DDCA.

Squad:   Gautam Gambhir (capt), Unmukt Chand, Vaibhav Rawal, Mithun Manhas, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Yadav, Rajat Bhatia, Mohit Sharma, Milind Kumar, Manan Sharma, Varun Sood, Ashish Nehra, Sumit Narwal, Javed Khan.

source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Sports> Cricket / PTI / December 28th, 2013