Afghanistan cricket is lucky to have Mujeeb Ur Rahman in their ranks and loves to flaunt him. The only Afghan cricketer to have a cricketing background and the 17-year-old lad’s skills can be mostly attributed to his family culture.
Cricket news: Mujeeb also explains how he managed to dismiss Kohli in IPL
Mujeeb is the nephew of Noor Ali Zadran, who had made his Afghanistan debut against Scotland in 2009.Mujeeb, has grown up in his uncle’s academy, which has also produced many first-class cricketers.
“I used to bowl to my uncle from a very young age. And I bowled with a mindset that I was already playing at the international level. Right from the beginning, I got a chance to bowl to international players,” Mujeeb told TOI.
Mujeeb has seen incredible rise in his career since the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, and had very little time to adjust to international cricket.
“No English or Hindi. Only Pashto,” is the only language through which he can communicate with people outside Afghanistan.
Mujeeb had a fruitful IPL season with the King’s XI Punjab which can lead to lucrative contracts from T20 leagues around the world.
Since joining the national team, he had the opportunity to work with coaching staffs like West Indian Phil Simmons (head coach), South African Charl Langeveldt (bowling consultant) and Irishman John Mooney (fielding coach).
When asked about his problem in communication skills, he asks his interpreter to convey: “Cricket is my language.”
“I bank on my cricketing knowledge. I understand what is being told to me, the language doesn’t matter. I understand cricketing stuff.”
Afghanistan cricketers have seldom received formal coaching. With many innovations coming his way, he has changed his style of play and thus conventional spin bowling was never an option for him.
“I watched Ajantha Mendis, Sunil Narine and Ravichandran Ashwin bowling different type of balls. That fascinated me. I kept watching the videos and grew with it,” Mujeeb reveals.
When asked about the way he was able to break through the defence of Virat Kohli during the IPL, Mujeeb gave a wry smile and said, “I observed his footwork very minutely. I drew him forward and exposed the gap.”