IPL 2018: Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman impresses on debut for Kings XI Punjab | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman impresses on debut for Kings XI Punjab

Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman put in impressive performance for Kings XI Punjab on his IPL debut against Delhi Daredevils.

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2018 00:02 IST
Shalini Gupta
Kings XI Punjab bought Mujeeb Ur Rahman for Rs 4 crore in IPL auction.
Kings XI Punjab bought Mujeeb Ur Rahman for Rs 4 crore in IPL auction.(HT Photo)

On the eve of their opening tie, Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin and mentor Virender Sehwag were seen spending time with the 17-year-old Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the nets of the IS Bindra Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. Despite the fact that Mujeeb, who has been called as ‘Mystery Spinner’, doesn’t understand and speak Hindi or English very well, it seems captain Ashwin was able make him understand few tricks of the trade in the limited session.

Mujeeb became the youngest to play the league and impressed on his IPL debut taking two wickets,for 28 runs in his quota of four overs. The off-spinner Mujeeb also contributed through his fielding when he got Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir run out with a direct hit from fine-leg for 55. Had Gambhir not got out, Delhi Daredevils would have set a stiffer target for Kings XI.

Bowling in his first over, Mujeeb, who hails from Khost in Afghanistan, trapped Delhi Daredevils opener Colin Monroe in front of the wickets for 4 runs. His second dismissal came in the form of Rishabh Pant who was on fire and had already 33 of just 13 balls.

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Speaking ahead of the Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils contest, Sehwag had praised Mujeeb and had said, “He is a fine young spinner and will definitely make a mark in IPL. When Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis and West Indies bowler Sunil Narine had arrived on the international cricket scene they were seen as mystery spinners and made an impact. He doesn’t understand Hindi or English that well, but we will take out a way or two and create a rapport with him. The tournament is quite long and he has time to adjust.”

Mujeeb enthralled the handful of Afghani spectators sitting in the stands and received cheers when he was on the field. He caused a flutter in the IPL auction and was eventually bought by Kings XI Punjab for whopping Rs 4 crore. He made his international debut against Ireland in Sharjah at 16 and bagged four wickets.

The spinner had a great outing in the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand and helped his country reach the semifinals. In the recently held World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe, he snapped 16 scalps in seven matches. It would be interesting to see how Mujeeb uses IPL to get acclaim like Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has done in the past.