Munaf Musa Patel - From the wickets of Fleming and Astle to the wickets of Flintoff and Strauss

Munaf Patel first came into the news when Dennis Lillee famously proclaimed him as the fastest bowler in India in late 2003. The Gujarat youngster was then immediately pitch-forked to make his first class debut against the visiting Kiwis and he didn't disappoint in that game, picking up the wickets of Fleming and Astle in both the innings. Tendulkar then pursuaded him to play for Mumbai in the Ranji season, a move which didn't really go that well with the Gujarat Cricket Association. For the next couple of seasons, Munaf continued to keep the selectors interested with some good performances here and there. He was regularly selected to play for the A teams, went to Australia for a training stint and regularly kept making it into the probables list of every other probables-camp, but he just couldn't do enough (that bit extra) to break it into the national squad.

At the start of the 2005-06 season, Munaf shifted allegiance to Maharastra along with skipper Bahutule, a move that was heavily criticized in the Mumbai circuit. Maharastra did not have a great season, but if there was one thing (only thing) that Darren Holder and Chandrakant Pandit got right this season, it was managing to get the best out of Munaf. He bowled with a lot of heart this season and ended up with 34 wickets at 19.70 apiece. [Wickets breakdown - 4/104 and 0/20 against Bengal, 3/70 and 0/16 against Gujarat, 3/88 against Delhi, 4/77 and 2/60 against Tamil Nadu, 3/37 against Karnataka, 6/50 and 0/27 against Railways, 5/79 and 4/42 against Mumbai] The 9 wicket haul against Mumbai was easily the best but should also have been the most satisfying one, given what happened at the start of the season.

After the Pakistan tour, it was clear that the team management was looking to include a real fast bowler to its pace attack and it was very clear that the slot had to go to someone between Munaf and VRV. VRV Singh did enough to impress the selectors and Chappell during the Challenger series last year and they were really keen on testing him out first. Munaf probably would have guessed it and probably knew that he was second in line. But the way he ran through the English lineup in both the innings at Baroda will linger in the minds of the selectors for a long time to come. Figures of 5/59 and 5/32 (including the wickets of Flintoff and Strauss in both the innings) against the Ashes winners will go a long way in helping his career. When he ultimately makes it big (would be a real shame if he doesn't) a few years from now, he would look back at this game as the one that made his career, the one where Munaf Musa Patel transformed from being "just the bloke from Bharuch who can bowl fast" to "the bloke from Bharuch who can be a real match-winner". [Image Courtesy: PTI]

Labels:

« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Blogger Havoc 12:28 AM

pretty good bio... btw do you know the website for BCCI?    



Blogger vishnupavan 6:53 AM

Havoc, unfortunately there is no such thing as a BCCI website.. it has been in the works for a while, stumpvision was supposed to take care of it some time back, but that deal seems to have fallen apart. Read somewhere that the new BCCI team is very keen on getting one up pretty soon - not sure how soon..    



» Post a Comment