Kona Kona Cricket Articles

9th October 2020

Abdul Samad, the latest big-hitter from Jammu and Kashmir

A breakthrough season in 2019-20 at domestic level for Jammu and Kashmir shot Abdul Samad into fame. He struck a sensational 36 sixes in the Ranji Trophy in 2019-20, the most by any batsman, and his breathtaking strike-rate of 112.97 created ripples in the cricketing circuit.

Abdul Samad was first spotted by Irfan Pathan and Milap Mewada as a 16-year old. Watching Samad at his college tryouts, Pathan helped him through the Jammu and Kashmir setup. 

The former India all-rounder, Pathan, took Samad under his wing and has been a mentor to the youngster. Pathan was impressed by Samad's abilities against pace bowling but concerned at the same time that he wasn't converting his starts.

That hasn't quite changed about Samad. While he made two centuries in the Ranji Trophy, it was his mini cameos in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament that sealed Samad a deal in the Indian T20 League with Hyderabad.

Samad, aside from topping the six charts in the Ranji Trophy, smashed Piyush Chawla for four back-to-back sixes in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and played handy cameos in the shortest format of the game.

A clean striker of the ball, Samad's skills and talent were there for everyone to see. Players from Jammu and Kashmir don't often breakthrough in Indian cricket. In the Indian T20 League itself, there have only ever been three players from J & K and only one has gone on to play international cricket, a stint that barely lasted long enough for him to become a household name.

The odds of Samad cracking into the Indian T20 league through the rigours of the auction were pretty slim despite his reputation as a six-hitter. What aided him, though, was that VVS Laxman, an acquaintance of Milap Mewada from their under-19 days and Hyderabad, was in search of a middle-order finisher. He was bought for his base price of Rs 20 lakh.

Samad has played 10 first-class matches, eight List A games and 14 T20 matches to-date. His numbers with the bat speak for his hitting ability. At Hyderabad, Samad had a massive opportunity to plug a glaring hole.

At 18, Samad was also highly touted by T20 purists, purely on the basis of his numbers on domestic cricket. As such, when he made his debut for Hyderabad, Samad was almost expected to solve a lot of their middle overs hitting issue.

He is less than three games into his Indian T20 League career and Samad has already bowled the final over in a run-chase and taken on the responsibility of leading the team to a good total in the death. Samad's effortless six off Anrich Nortje is testimony to his talent. 

With Hyderabad entrusting Samad with responsibility in key areas already this season, the youngster is expected to turn more heads. The youngster is also proud of his state and the talent coming through from there and expresses with confidence that more players from Jammu and Kashmir will make a mark in the Indian T20 League in the coming years.

*Stats till October 4

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Disclaimer: This editorial content has been sourced from HoldingWilley