Dubai: Dreams do come true. Ask Abdul Samad.
The Jammu and Kashmir Ranji Trophy player, who will turn 19 when the 13th Indian Premier League (IPL-13) enters its business-end next month, took to Twitter to celebrate the fruition of his dream as he made into the squad of 2016 IPL champions.
“And 5 years later, the dream has come true for Abdul Samad,” the Sunrisers Hyderabad official handle said while posting an earlier tweet from Abdul Samad.
Abdul Samad’s tweet in question had been simple and tells the story. Picked up by the SunRisers at the end of the IPL-13 auction last year, the teen had simply posted: “Five years ago, if someone had told me I would be playing with big players like David Warner, Kane Williamson & Manish Pandey, I would have laughed.”
Born on October 28, 2001, Abdul Samad made his Twenty20 debut for Jammu and Kashmir in the 2018-’19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on February 21 last year. The teen then went on to make his List A debut nearly a year back on September 27, also for his home state in the 2019-2020 Vijay Hazare Trophy.
After that came his moment of glory as Samad made it to the Ranji Trophy squad for Jammu and Kashmir. The season gone by proved to be crucial for the young cricketer as Abdul Samad eventually finished with three whirlwind centuries and two half-centuries while compiling 592 runs.
What was jaw-dropping was the 36 sixes he hit - the most by anyone in the season – that eventually led to J&K making it to the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy for only the second time.
Back in November 2019, VVS Laxman, the former Indian batting legend and a mentor for SunRisers, had called up Jammu and Kashmir coach Milap Mewada, enquiring about any young players the outfit could shortlist for trials ahead of the IPL auction the following month. The Sunrisers’ requirement was specific: they were on the lookout for an Indian finisher with a pedigree.
Mewada, an old friend and under-19 teammate of Laxman, suggested Samad, while Jammu and Kashmir’s mentor Irfan Pathan sent in a strong recommendation on behalf of the fearless hitter. In December, Abdul Samad was signed by the Sunrisers for around $28,000 making him the fourth cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir – after Parvez Rasool, Manzoor Dar and Rasikh Salam – to earn an IPL contract.