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Cricket World Cup: Training with lighter ball helped Mujeeb Ur Rahman

3 min read

Growing up within the scenic city of Khost, Mujeeb Ur Rahman barely went anyplace and not using a cricket ball in his fingers and it’s not an exaggeration, his childhood coach Mohammad Khan Zadran stresses.

“Ball haath mai hi raha hai humesha (he’s always kept the ball in his hands). Whether he was at the academy, at home or traveling from one place to another,” he tells The Indian Express. It shouldn’t come throughout as a shock that when it got here to Afghanistan gorgeous the world champions on Sunday, it was the cricket ball addict from the Khost province who led the dismantling of the English batting in Kotla.

Zadran, who additionally coached the opposite Afghanistan protagonist of the World Cup upset in Rahmanullah Gurbaz, takes us 12 years again when he first met Mujeeb.

A boy not older 10-11, who’d misplaced his father at a younger age with no different supply of earnings within the household, however with an immense ardour for cricket. “Bowling se mohabbat thi usey (He was in love with bowling),” the Khost province coach recollects earlier than sharing a selection that he gave the younger spin-bowling fanatic an early lifeline within the sport.

“I told him, ‘Don’t worry about the fees.’ We don’t take it from the boys who come from poor households,” Zadran shares. The funding from the regional coach proved invaluable for Afghanistan, who registered solely their second win in a 3rd ODI World Cup outing.


Following his three-wicket haul in opposition to the defending champions, Mujeeb revealed of a dialog he’d have along with his skipper earlier than they got here out to defend 284 in Delhi. “We knew that dew was going to come into play later on, which is why I was asking the captain to throw me the ball in the powerplay,” Mujeeb would say on the finish of the sport.

It was a technique that labored nicely for the Afghans as their off spinner eliminated England’s high scorer at this World Cup, Joe Root. An angled supply that held its line saved low earlier than rattling the off stump. It might have been the most important wicket he registered on the eve, however it actually wasn’t his most dexterous.

Despite having misplaced six wickets, England have been nonetheless within the chase with extra batting to return and difficult situations to grip the ball on supply. Enter Mujeeb for a closing spell to provide a few rippers contained in the span of two overs. A flighted unsuitable ‘un took an inside edge off Woakes earlier than cleansing him up, and a 100kph plus carrom ball that induced the skin edge off to ship again the final batter standing in Harry Brook.

While taking the initiative with the brand new ball is one thing Zadran recollects Mujeeb has had from his early days, the long-time coach elucidates on what’s made his ward good with gripping the ball below robust situations.

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“He used to shuffle between the hard ball and the light tennis one. Bowling with the latter, the force being generated from your finger to turn the ball is tested. If you’re able to turn the light ball, it becomes easier to do so with the hard one. Also helps that his fingers are huge,” Zadran has a crack.

On the velocity of the carrom ball Mujeeb used, Zadran provides, “The gripping habits of the tennis ball also help with the speed. Getting those revolutions with the lighter one helps when you switch to the hard ball which skids more.”

It’s now a behavior that Zadran inculcates to all of his younger lovers. “Be it the quicks or the spinners, we ask them to train with the lighter ball at least twice a week. So that the the hard ball grips nicely in the hand.” Just like Mujeeb.