The rising star from J&K in Indian cricket, Abdul Samad, has left cricket fans awestruck with his six hitting ability by playing a fiery cameo in the first match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kolkatta Knight Riders (KKR) at MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai on Sunday.
Samad, who is known for his big hitting at domestic level, came late in the middle to bat for Sunrisers while chasing a total of 187 runs in 20 overs. They needed 37 more runs from mere 12 balls when Samad came in to bat. The very first ball that Samad faced was dispatched for a huge six. It was no ordinary feat as he had hit the six of the world's number one test bowler, Pat Cummins of Australia. Though Samad couldn't take his side to victory but finished with an unbeaten cameo of 19 runs from only eight balls. Sunrisers lost the match by 10 runs.
For his late cameo, Samad turned into an instant hit on social media which was full of memes in praise of the Jammu-born cricketer. Some of the well-known faces of international cricket also praised Samad's six hitting ability and rued why he was sent so late to bat by the team management.
Leading the praise was Samad's mentor and the man credited for taking him to greater heights – former Indian cricketer and J&K mentor Irfan Pathan. "Well done @KKRiders on winning this game. With Russell bowling they have 6 quality options. But why was Samad sent so late ??."
Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle pointed out that Samad was sent late in the middle to bat and he at least needed 25 to 30 balls to change the game. "I think @SunRisers wanted a bit more from Manish Pandey. He had to play the lead role and provide the finish. And, I have no doubt they will play Samad a bit higher. Give him 25-30 balls and he could change games, Bhogle said in a tweet.
Former India cricketer-turned-cricket expert Aakash Chopra highlighted the six hitting ability of Samad and pointed out his debut domestic season in which Samad had hit 36 sixes. "Abdul Samad. Serious talent. He's hit sixes against Nortje, Rabada, Bumrah and Cummins. Side note—He hit 36 sixes in his debut first-class season," Chopra tweeted.
A well known cricket statistician Bharath Seervi pointed out that Samad had in total faced 18 different bowlers in IPL (including last year) but has hit sixes only of the fastest known pacers in the league. "Abdul Samad has faced 18 different bowlers in IPL. But he's hit only 4 of them for sixes. They are, Cummins – 3 sixes (8 balls), Bumrah – 2 sixes (6 balls), Nortje – 2 sixes (8 balls) and Rabada – 1 six (5 balls)," Seervi tweeted.
Another former India cricketer RP Singh tweeted that Samad could have changed the game if sent ahead of Vijay Shankar. "Complete team effort by KKR. For SRH, Samad could have changed the game if he came ahead of Vijay."
In the match, Sunrisers Hyderabad sent Mohammad Nabi and Vijay Shabkar ahead of Abdul Samad to bat. Both failed to make any notable difference and by the time Samad arrived it was too late. Though he tried but couldn't win it for his side.
Samad last year became the third ever cricketer from J&K to play in the cash rich IPL. He was last year bought by Sunrisers Hyderanbad for Rs 20 lakhs. He impressed everyone with his talent and ability and went on to play 12 matches during debut season. That was the most played by a J&K cricketer. Parvez Rasool who had played for around three franchises during his three to five year stint in IPL was able to play only 11 matches all along. Samad went on to play 12 matches in his debut season.
Impressed with his performance Sunrisers went on to retain Abdul Samad in the side for this season as well. The only other J&K cricketer to play in IPL is Rasikh Salam for Mumbai India who was later banned for age fudging by the BCCI.