Friday, April 22, 2011

Iqbal Abdulla: Another Azamgarh cricketer makes his mark in IPL

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has given chance to a whole lot of youngsters to exhibit their talent and burst on the national sporting scene.

This year IPL has already thrown up players like Paul Valthaty, Manoj Tiwari and Ambati Rayudu who would have otherwise hardly got the opportunity to emerge at the top level.

Iqbal Abdulla, who is playing for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is another cricketer who has so far performed well in the ongoing season of the IPL [2011].

The orthodox spinner who can made handy contribution with the bat hails from Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh, a town which is known for producing litterateurs, leaders and countless other 'Azmis' who have earned a name across the world.

Iqbal Abdulla, who sports the purple jersey for KKR has finally been recognised as a cricketer. He is not a novice though. He was one of the heroes of the Indian Under-19 cricket team's world cup victory in Malaysia. Fortunatel for him, the KKR is finally winning matches in IPL4.

In Azamgarh, Iqbal's father ran a small kirana shop. Worse, he hated cricket. But it was his coach's persuasive skills and the teenager's hard work, who slept in go downs and lived off a paltry sum in Mumbai, that he finally managed to get selectors' attention and was selected to play in the Ranji trophy.

The all-rounder who bowls left-arm orthodox spin had taken ten wickets at 13 apiece in the Under 19 world cup. Indian Express had then termed him 'real Iqbal' who scripted the young Indian team's victory on lines of Nagesh Kuknoor's critically acclaimed movie Iqbal, in which a Muslim boy overcomes disability to be part of the national squad.

With IPL, Abdullah is finally a recognizable face. Before him, Kamran Khan, another raw speedster, from Azamgarh, had earned name for himself. For a short while, a section of media had defamed Azamgarh, terming it a den of underworld shooters and nursery of terrorism.

Earlier it used to be poets, now its players like Khan and Abdulla who bring fame to the Uttar Pradesh town. They may not have got spectacular success as yet but the fact that players from humble backgrounds are making it to top teams and earning money, that is changing their families' lives, is a positive trend. More importantly, for Azamgarh.