New Delhi: The Indian National team playing at International Cricket Council (ICC) Under 19 cricket World Cup 2016 in Bangladesh has five Muslim faces out of its 15 member squad.
It is first time when these much number of Muslim players has been selected to perform for the national cricket team at an International event. These are Arman Jaffer,17, Sarfaraz Khan,18, Avesh Khan,19, Khaleel Ahmed,18, and Zeeshan Ansari,16.
There were three Muslims in Indian team that played Under 19 cricket World Cup 2014 in UAE. Sarfaraz Khan and Avesh Khan played in 2014 World cup too.
The most epic of these names is Sarfaraz Khan who made it to the India U-19 squad on the back of consistent performances during the 2014 U-19 World Cup in the UAE and then for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. He was even bought by Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB) for Rs 50 lakh in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in 2015 where he showed superb batting that earned him more recognition.
Sarfaraz first got noticed when he scored a magnificent 439 in his maiden Haris Shield game in 2009 when he was just 12.
Sarfaraz is from Mumbai and is son of coach Naushad Khan, who has mentored players like Iqbal Abdullah and Kamran khan. As Sarfaraz has not been able to attend school from last four years due to cricket commitments his father Naushad arranged for private teachers at home to teach Sarfaraz Maths and English.
Armaan Jaffer is nephew of well known Test cricketer Wasim Jaffer. He too lives in Mumbai and is a classmate of Sarfaraz.
He fell off the junior selectors’ radar after a poor show in the U-19 Challenger Trophy when he scored just 75 runs in three games but the stylish middle-order batsman then scored more than 1,000 runs in seven games including three consecutive double hundreds that forced the selectors to draft him into the team.
By scoring back to back three consecutive double centuries he created history in U-19 tournaments.
Avesh Khan is the fast bowler from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Due to his sensational fast bowling he was selected in 2014 World Cup too. He had bowled a delivery with 139.8kmph against Pakistan in the last Under-19 World Cup.
Recently, he trampled through the Bangladeshi batting attack and pulled out magical figures of 6-3-4-4 at Jadavpur University Ground in Kolkata in the tri-series opener in November 2015.
Khaleel Ahmed, a left arm seamer is from Tonk, Rajasthan. His father Khurshid Ahmed is a nurse in a village near Tonk. Khaleel did not pay heed to his father’s advice to concentrate on study but played maximum cricket and in the under-14 Rajsingh Dungarpur Trophy, he played magnificently picking up 26 wickets in four matches. Later, he was selected for a camp at the BCCI Specialist Academy in Mohali.
In the last five matches he took 13 wickets, bowling India to victory with a three-for in the final of the Under-19 tri-series in Sri Lanka in December. He generates pace at a speed of 135 kmph.
Zeeshan Ansari, a lad from Lucknow is India’s main spinner and he bowls leg break googly. His father, Naeem Ansari is a tailor – Specialist in Ladies Suit & Salwar. In nine matches that Uttar Pradesh played in Cooch Behar and the under-23 CK Nayudu Trophy, Zeeshan took 58 wickets whereas in the Under-19 Vinoo Mankad interstate and inter-zonal trophies, he claimed 23 wickets in 6 innings.
His seven-wicket haul in the Cooch Behar Trophy match against Bengal got him a chance to play for tri-series at Kolkata in November, 2015.
All these five players played first match against Ireland and Sarfaraz is judged man of the match for his splendid innings of 74 played under pressure helping India to win the match by 79 runs. (twocircles)