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Azamgarh to Cape Town, in quick time

A few months ago, when Kamran Khan dropped by at a net session at Gomti Nagar, no one knew who he was. In the IPL most high-voltage match so far, Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne handed the 18-year-old the ball for two huge overs. He dismissed Sourav Ganguly in the final over and, after the match was tied, he bowled the Super Over, reports Sharad Deep.

cricket Updated: Apr 25, 2009 01:22 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times

A few months ago, when a bubbly teenager named Kamran Khan dropped by at a net session at Gomti Nagar, no one knew who he was. But one remark made sure everyone noticed him. “I want to make sure Muslims who come from Azamgarh are known as cricketers, not terrorists,” he said.

On Thursday, in the Indian Premier League’s most high-voltage match so far, Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne handed the 18-year-old the ball for two huge overs. He dismissed Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sourav Ganguly in the final over and, after the match was tied, he bowled the Super Over, reining in Chris Gayle to give his team a gettable target.

Even as spectators at Newlands held their breath, so did a village of 5,000 — Nadwa Sarai in Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Mau district, which borders Azamgarh, where Kamran hails from. “Everyone watched the game with our family,” said Shamshad, one of Kamran’s eight elder siblings.

Shamshad, a driver, said he would tell Kamran cricket was a waste of time. Now he’s glad his brother never listened. “Our parents are no more. I wanted Kamran to work as we needed the money. On Thursday, though, I figured he was right to pay me no attention.”

Kamran, who never played for UP, was part of a fast bowlers’ camp hosted by the state association in Kanpur in 2008, where former Ranji bowler Obaid Kamal worked with him on his run-up. “I told him to increase his run-up as he was too quick,” said Kamal.

Nadwa Sarai is waiting to see if the Royals make the final again. “Some villagers plan to go watch Kamran play. I can’t afford it, but it will be nice for him to have familiar faces around,” said Shamshad.

First Published: Apr 25, 2009 01:15 IST