Dubai: UAE allrounder Rohan Mustafa is creating waves in the local cricket circuit this season. In the recent Gulf Super Sixes tournament he bagged the prestigious Player of the Tournament award playing alongside legendary cricketers Wasim Akram, Jonty Rhodes and Chaminda Vaas.
Mustafa impressed everyone with his ability to strike the ball hard and tight off spin bowling. In one of the knocks in the Super Sixes for Phoenix Medicines, he hit 42 runs off just 10 balls. Nayan Mongia, who played for Phoenix, was so impressed with Mustafa that he gave him valuable tips on how to attack bowling.
In the Kerala Champions League (KCL) that followed the Super Sixes, Mustafa represented Calicut Challengers. He started off with a knock of 51 runs and two wickets against Kottayam Kings and went on to steer Calicut into the final with a consistent allround show though Cochin Cannons won the title.
Impressed by his consistent show, Anis Sajan, Managing Director of Danube recruited him for the newly formed Danube Lions team and also offered a job in his company. Representing Danube in the ongoing Bukhatir League, Mustafa bagged three wickets against Emirates Cricket Board (Green) to ensure Danube their debut victory.
Speaking to Gulf News, Mustafa said: “I got interested in cricket due to my father who was very keen to see me play international cricket. He told me to work hard and one day represent Pakistan but he passed away. I stayed on in the UAE but realised his dream of representing a national team by winning a place in the UAE team.
“I could not qualify to play UAE Under-15 due to the four year residency rule but got selected for the Under-19 team and bagged five wickets against Thailand in the Asian Cricket Council Under-19 Elite Cup in Malaysia,” said Mustafa, who was born in Kohat, Pakistan.
Mustafa was taught the basics of the game by Phoneix team coach Irfan Ansari.
“It was Ansari who taught me how to play with the hard ball as till I met him I used to play with only soft ball. I got selected by Phoenix Medicines and played eight years for them.”
Last year, Mustafa hit two centuries in two tournaments on the same day.
“In the morning I hit 104 runs in the first match against Interface Transworld Cricket Club to help Phoenix win by 84 runs and in the second match at noon against Shahzad Cricket Club, I remained unbeaten on 125 to ensure a six wicket win for my team.”
UAE selectors quickly picked him for the national team and he has repaid the faith shown in his abilities. “Recently, I hit 78 runs and bagged two wickets against Holland in their tour match. I am thankful to UAE skipper Khurram Khan who has always encouraged me and given me tips of how to handle pressure. My dream is now to represent UAE and play in Twenty20 World Cup,” he added.