From just another Rahman to IPL darling
NEW DELHI: Pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman has been a revelation since he burst onto the international stage with Bangladesh just a year ago — and now he is taking the Indian Premier League (IPL) by storm.
Baby-faced heart-throb Rahman is adjusting to his jetset lifestyle as he flies from city to city in cricket’s glitziest tournament — a far cry from four years ago when he had to cling to the back of his brother’s rickety moped over 40km of potholed roads just to go to practice in the nearest nets.
“My brother used to take me to [the nearest town] Satkhira every day and then bring me back home to our village. It was very difficult,” recalls Rahman whose intrinsic shyness belies his nickname of ‘The Fizz’. “There were a few academies in Satkhira where I used to practice but otherwise I had to practice in the schoolyard all by myself.”
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The 20-year-old has been Sunrisers Hyderabad’s standout bowler in this year’s IPL with his eight scalps coming at an average of 21.25, including big wickets of AB de Villiers, Shane Watson and Virat Kohli.
The left-arm paceman also had the best strike rate at the recent World T20, while his 5-22 against New Zealand were the best single match figures by any bowler in the competition.
An unknown 12 months ago, Rahman is now one of cricket’s hottest properties after a stunning start to his international career which has earned him big-money contracts in the IPL and in England.
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According to figures compiled by ESPNcricinfo, Rahman has the best average of any bowler in T20 cricket in the past 12 months and his economy rate is second only to the West Indian Sunil Narine.
Rahman, whose trademark delivery is a fizzing off-cutter, first caught the eye of Indian observers last June when he took 5-50 in his ODI debut as Bangladesh thrashed their giant neighbours in Dhaka.
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Bangladeshi players have been routinely patronised by Indian fans but Rahman has already earned their respect.
Rahman said he was proud to get the chance to fly the flag for Bangladesh whether in the IPL or on the international scene. “I always wish for my country to stand tall, not only in cricket but any sport,” he said.