Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who has been a revelation for Afghanistan, insists that regardless of the language hurdle, he can understand things being told to him about cricket because cricket is his language. Rahman has a strong cricketing culture in the family which can be attributed to his success.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the 17-year old from Afghanistan, who has been raising eyebrows all over the world, had a solid foundation as a child given the strong cricketing culture in the family. Nephew to Noor Ali Zadran, who played in Afghanistan’s debut ODI against Scotland in 2009, Rahman played most of the cricket as a child in the nursery built by his uncle at his home in Kabul. The academy has produced many first-class cricketers.
“I used to bowl to my uncle from a very young age. And I bowled with a mindset that I was already playing at the international level. Right from the beginning, I got a chance to bowl to international players,” Mujeeb told TOI.
Rahman has seen a meteoric rise since the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year, which hasn’t allowed him to learn English or any other language and this has been a hurdle for him while communicating with people outside Afghanistan.
Since he got selected into the national team, he has had to deal with a support staff that has West Indian Phil Simmons (head coach), South African Charl Langeveldt (bowling consultant) and Irishman John Mooney (fielding coach). However, the 17-year old insisted that cricket is his language and regardless of the language he understands cricketing stuff.
“Cricket is my language. I bank on my cricketing knowledge. I understand what is being told to me, the language doesn’t matter. I understand cricketing stuff,” he said.
Afghanistani cricketers have not been exposed to formal coaching and Rahman’s growing years coincided with the growth of T20s, which resulted in discovery of the mystery bowlers. Hence, conventional form of spin bowling was never an option for him.
Talking about his wicket of Virat Kohli in IPL, he said, “I observed his footwork very minutely. I drew him forward and exposed the gap.”
He had a fruitful IPL season, where he picked up 14 wickets in 11 matches. Such an impressive outing of his is very likely to attract contracts from other T20 leagues as well.