Srinagar, May 7: "Remember whatever you learn here, work on that at home, " the rising left-arm pacer of the J&K senior cricket team, MujtabaYousuf was advised by Indian cricket team icon MS Dhoni during the ongoing IPL 2023.
MujtabaYousuf is one of the eight players from J&K as part of IPL 2023 as the net bowler for the franchisee sides. Mujtaba is a net bowler for the Chennai Super Kings, which is led by legendary former India captain MS Dhoni.
Dhoni who led India to World Cup 2011 title in ODI cricket and the 2007 World Cup title in T20 is considered as one of the sharpest minds in the World of Cricket. He has also led CSK to four IPL titles.
The 20-year-old pacer from Bijbehara town of Anantnag district is loving his time in CSK camp and spending time with MS Dhoni.
"I am loving it here and learning a lot of things that are going to help me improve my game. I have been speaking with MS Dhoni whenever I find a chance to do that. He has a lot of things on his platter already but still, I always look for the chances to take advice and tips from him during CSK nets," said MujtabaYousuf.
"It is such a lovely feeling whenever you talk to him. He is a great person and always helpful. He gave me simple advice. He said, whatever you learn here do remember that and practice that back home," Mujtaba revealed.
Mujtaba said that being part of the IPL side is a golden opportunity for youngsters like him to learn and improve their game.
"In the IPL camp, you get to learn a lot of things. I have been working on a few points and things with the coaches here and Insha Allah that is going to help me a great deal when I play for J&K in the upcoming season," the young talented pacer said.
Mujtaba has been shining from a very young age and has also been part of India Under-19 coaching camps on a couple of occasions.
Mujtaba said that the bowling experts of CSK have been helping him and he is working on his death bowling and variations.
"In IPL team net sessions you get to bowl to the top-level players from all over the World. That tests your ability and also helps to improve the game," he said.
"In CSK we have bowling experts Eric Simmons and Dwayne Bravo. They have been there to help all of us. Bravo is West Indies and CSK legend. He is known for his variations and death bowling. I am lucky to get a chance to learn from such a legend.
Mujtaba who has been associated with KKR and RCB previously as a net bowler said that CSK camp is a lot different from other franchises.
"I have been part of IPL teams previously. But to be honest it is totally different experience and atmosphere. Everyone here is helpful and you get a chance to learn new things here. In CSK, everyone is ready to help you. That is the reason CSK has a huge fan base and is so successful team," Mujtaba said.
Mujtaba also thanked JKCA for allowing players like him to be part of IPL sides as a net bowlers.
"JKCA has been encouraging players like me to be associated with IPL sides. It is going to help improve and develop J&K cricket, " Mujtaba added.
The left-arm pacer has represented J&K in three first-class matches, 16 List-A matches and 21 T20 matches. In three first-class matches, Mujtaba has taken 12 wickets while he has captured 16 wickets in 16 List-A matches. Mujtaba has also taken 20 wickets in T20 matches for J&K.
Apart from Mujtaba, seven more cricketers from J&K are part of the IPL as net bowlers. Samiullah is with KKR, AquibNabi and TahirBhat are with Sunrisers Hyderabad, Basit Bashir is with Mumbai Indians, AbidMushtaq is with CSK, Waseem Bashir is with LSG and Umar Nazir is with PBKS.
In total 13 players from J&K are associated with IPL 2023. While eight are part of a cash-rich league as net bowlers, five are part of main squads.