While star cricketer Abdul Samad is all set to once again entertain everyone with his all-round antics in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, there are three more cricketers from J&K who will be part of the tournament as net bowlers.
Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, a secure bio-bubble is in place for the league and the franchisees have roped in domestic cricketers as net bowlers for their teams. The cricketers would be part of the league from start till the end in the bio-bubble.
From J&K, this time three youngsters have joined the cash rich IPL as net bowlers. The cricketers include Mujtaba Yousuf, Umran Malik and Auquib Nabi. The trio has already joined their respective teams and completed their mandatory quarantine period before the start of the training sessions.
While Mujtaba previously has been part of IPL as net bowler, it will be the first time for Auquib and Umran.
Mujtaba, who was in reckoning to make it to the main roaster of the IPL but missed in auction, is part of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) led by Virat Kohli. Auquib Nabi, who is an emerging all-rounder and this year represented J&K in both One-Day and T20 formats, is part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Umran Malik of Jammu, who this year emerged into the scene with his sheer pace for J&K, is part of Sunrisers Hyderabad. It is the same franchise for which Abdul Samad, who also belongs to Jammu, province plays.
A former cricketer of J&K termed it a "good development" for cricket in the UT and said it will help these bowlers in the long run. "It is always beneficial to be around the top quality players and learn from them. It is a good opportunity for these three youngsters and is going to benefit J&K in the long run," he said.
He added, "It was visible that Mujtaba had gained a lot of experience and knowledge by being part of the league last year. For this season in J&K, he was a spearhead pacer in both one-Day format and T20. We were sure that he would be picked by any of the IPL teams in auction but that didn't happen despite being called for trials by three teams. However, we are still happy that he will again emerge as a better bowler by being around the top quality players." The former cricketer however said that it will be a new experience for Umran and Auquib.
"Auquib is a talented all-rounder and I am hopeful that being around top level players will help him a lot. Umran had excellent debut outing for J&K in T20 and has good pace," he said.
The IPL management, owing to COVID-19 pandemic, has been utilising the services of domestic cricketers as net bowlers for the teams during tournament. Normally, local cricketers used to be part but due to bio-bubble, only a chosen set of cricketers are utilised. These players have to be part of the bio-bubble from start till end.