Cameraperson: Nitin Chopra
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has been a dependable name for the national team. But in the IPL, Nabi is yet to prove his worth, especially after Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to retain him for a price tag of Rs 1 crore.
And the moment finally arrived on Sunday, 31 March. Nabi, playing his debut match of IPL 2019, finished with a handsome 4/11 in his four overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Nabi’s splendid bowling performance was preceeded by a magnificent batting display by the opening pair of David Warner (100*) and Jonny Bairstow (114) . The Australian-English duo went all air-borne as both brought up their centuries and made an IPL record of highest opening stand.
After the Bairstow-Warner show, when the Bangalore batsmen came out to bat, it looked as if Nabi was bowling an a different pitch altogether. Such was his impact that the Royal Challengers were reduced to 22/3 in the fourth over of the innings.
"“We had scored around 200 and it was harder for them to chase because it was a big total on the board. I thought if I tried some different variation with them, it would work. And it worked. I just tried to turn a little bit, not that much and that troubled them.” " - Mohammad Nabi
Out of his four wickets, one of them included the prized scalp of AB de Villiers. Nabi had the honour of castling de Villiers, a feat not emulated by many in international cricket.
According to Nabi, the former South African cricketer failed to read the delivery as he got his stumps uprooted.
"“When I got that wicket, I felt really happy. The wicket changed the game at that time. AB did a small mistake. He tried to play for the turn, but the ball didn’t have that much turn. That was his mistake.”" - Mohammad Nabi
Reacting to the recent ‘Mankading’ episode in the IPL, Nabi thought that though Ashwin was well within his rights to run Jos Buttler out at the bowler’s end, his action was against the whole concept of sportsman spirt in the game.
"“According to rules Buttler is out but as far as sportsman spirit in cricket is concerned, Ashwin shouldn’t have done it. He stopped while bowling and then decided to take the bail off. Buttler was out of his crease so he was out. According to rule it is out but in sportsman spirit, it didn’t look good.”" - Mohammad Nabi
IPL 2019 might be only one week old but the sides involved have got a measure of each other’s strengths and weakness. And keeping that in mind, Nabi was not hesitant to take his pick for top four for the play-off spots.
"“Definitely Sunrisers will be there. KKR (Kolkata KnightRiders), Chennai. One more team. May be Delhi or Mumbai.”" - Mohammad Nabi
Against Bangalore, Nabi did shine with the ball but it’s batting which is his first love. The Afghan all-rounder enjoys batting and the added responsibility which comes with it.
Nabi is yet to make headlines with the bat for the Sunrisers but as far as the Afghanistan National Cricket team is concerned, Nabi has been leading their charge for quite a long time. Nabi with his batting has been instrumental in Afghanistan’s rise through the ranks for the last edition of the World Cup, as well as for the upcoming one in England.
"“I am enjoying my batting. When I go back to national duty, most of the time I have lot of responsibility with the bat on me. So, that’s why I enjoy batting.”" - Mohammad Nabi
In the 69 T20Is played by Nabi for Afghanistan, he has scored 1,161 runs at an average of 21.90 and a strike rate of 145.12. And in the ODIs, he has amassed 562 runs in 111 matches at an average of 29.14 and strike rate of 87.18
Speaking about the national team, the IPL will be followed by the cricket World Cup in England this year, starting from 30 May. And Nabi has welcomed the 10-team round robin format, where all teams will play each other in the group stage. But he was cautious about the English condition, which has always favoured the batsmen.
"“I think it is a great format this time around to play asingle game against every country. It is a tough challenge to play in English condition andwe have to adjust to the condition as quickly as possible. It will be a toughchallenge for everyone, especially for Afghanistan, especially for the batsman more challenging.”" - Mohammad Nabi
Nabi believes that batsmen will hold the key in England as far as the outcome of a match is concerned. Thus, one can expect him to play a crucial role in Afghanistan’s World Cup campaign. In the last edition of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Nabi had led his side.
"“The batsman need to score 250 in every game, it would be tough for the opposition to chase.”" - Mohammad Nabi
Predictating his favourites for the upcoming World Cup, Nabi was optimist was Afghanistan’s chances and declared Afghanistan to be one of favourites, along with the usual suspect - India.
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