Munaf Musa Patel
Hailed as the fastest man in Indian cricket, few mediumpacers had generated as much hype before bowling a ball in first-class, let alone international cricket.india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 16:49 IST
Few mediumpacers had generated as much hype before bowling a ball in first-class, let alone international cricket as Munaf Musa Patel, the young boy from the little town of Ikhar in Bahruch, Gujarat did in early 2003.
Kiran More, now chairman of selectors, had seen him bowl in the nets and sent him straight to the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai to train under TA Sekhar and Dennis Lillee. Soon he was being hailed as the fastest man in Indian cricket.
Then, even as Baroda and Gujarat vied for his services, Patel chose Mumbai, after Sachin Tendulkar had taken special interest in him and had a word with the authorities in the Mumbai Cricket Association. Even then Patel's first-class career was anything but smooth as he spent more time recovering from various injuries than actually playing.
Strongly built though not overly tall, a wild mane flowing behind him as he bustles up to the bowling crease, gathering momentum before releasing the ball with a windmill-whirl of hands, Patel's priority is to bowl quick. And it was this that first caught the eye about three years ago.
Now he has added reverse swing to his repertoire and has troubled batsmen with a well-directed yorker. After plenty of speculation and close calls he finally received a call from the national selection panel for the second Test against England in March 2006, after an impressive performance for the Board President's XI saw him pick up 10 English wickets for 91 runs.