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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: The Kashmiri lad who broke the IPL glass ceiling

Abdul Samad, the big-hitting Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder, is a beacon of hope for Kashmiri sports lovers.

IPL 2021: The Kashmiri lad who broke the IPL glass ceiling

Abdul Samad will be hoping to turn up the heat in IPL 2021.


Rahul Kargal

Published: 1 April 2021 1:08 PM GMT

In the 15th over of Sunrisers Hyderabad's run-chase against the Delhi Capitals in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League, an unheralded 18-year-old walked out to take strike.

Screaming in was the formidable Nortje, racking up the miles. With four-wickets down for the count and 76-runs needed for a win off 35 deliveries, the situation wasn't the best ones for any seasoned batsmen, let alone a rookie.

Soon, a quick-short ball was pulled away over the deep-square leg boundary for a rather effortless six. The Hyderabad dug-out screamed in both astonishment and delight.

The next ball was cut-way for an unreal one-bounce boundary past point to the wide third-man fence. A few more lusty blows and the unheralded teenager had up piled up 33 (16) in no time.

Abdul Samad had arrived.

Who is Abdul Samad?

Born in J&K's Kala Kot, Samad shot to national prominence courtesy of his exploits in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season.

In 17-innings that season, he pummelled 36 sixes (more than any other batsman that Ranji Trophy year) en-route to 592 runs. His strike-rate of 113 was stunning considering that Ranji Trophy is no T20 cricket.

Samad continued to make merry through the rest of the 2019-20 season.

Piyush Chawla bore the brunt of four sixes from the teenager's blade in a 50-over Vijay Hazare game at Jaipur that year. Then, there were quick-fire knocks against Odisha (29 from10 balls), Nagaland (28* from 13 balls) and against Saurashtra (32* from 24 balls).

All of these knocks brought victories to J&K.

Soon enough, Sunrisers' mentor VVS Laxman took notice. Before long, Abdul Samad was swooped up for INR 20 lakh in the 2019 auction.

He became only the fourth player from J&K to earn IPL stripes after Parvez Rasool, Mansoor Dar and Rasikh Salam.

What does IPL 2021 have in store for Samad?

The J&K teenager was used briefly as a big-hitting middle-order batsman in the 2020 campaign by Hyderabad. The fact that he can bowl leg-spin also adds to his credentials.

What was evident in his knock against Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020 was the amount of time he possessed when batting and playing big-shots in particular.

Add to this his gift of timing and Hyderabad are sitting on a potential gem in the form of young Samad.

The nineteen-year-old is mentored by Irfan Pathan, who has laid emphasis on innings-building. In the domestic season thus far in the lead up to IPL 2021, Samad has put in impactful performances for J&K.

Scores of 30 (Vs Karnataka), 54* (Vs UP) and 39 (Vs Railways) in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy showed that he's still got the flair to explode when the situation calls for it.

Thereafter, with a 63 in a winning cause against the Railways in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in February this year, Samad continued to prove his match-winning credentials.

The J&K lad has shown beyond doubt that he'd got what it takes to click in the IPL. Chances, however, will be few and far between and such is the nature of the IPL.

That said, through his short career thus far, the teenager from Kala Kot has emerged as a beacon of hope for the sports lovers of the beleaguered region.

Come IPL 2021, when the Kashmiri's turn up their television sets to watch an IPL game, they will be egging on a certain team from Hyderabad – all in the hope that the sun rises and shines on their very own Abdul Samad.

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