Surat: Former Indian fast bowler Munaf Patel is making new ‘Munaf’

Discovering Talent Through Munaf Patel

August 2022 A few years ago the slogans of “Munna, Munna, Munna” resonated in every cricket ground in Bharuch and Baroda districts and later the name resonated internationally. He was also called the ‘Unknown Warrior’ in the 2011 World Cup winning team. Now this warrior is determined to prepare an army of warriors like himself. This ‘Munna’ is fast bowler Munaf Patel who is popularly known as Ikhar Express.

Instead of sitting after retirement, Munaf Patel, who bowled the fastest 140 kmph, is working diligently to find and develop similar ‘talent’ at the Baroda Cricket Association grounds. Munaf’s hard work can give Indian cricket another fast bowler like Munaf in future.

Youth from villages can knock in Indian cricket team by taking training from Munaf

, BCA is conducting talent hunt through Munaf Patel under Aditya Birla’s sponsorship of Street Light to Flood Light and is being monitored by BCA CEO Shishir Hatgandi and core team. Presently, Munaf Patel is teaching fast bowling lessons to a select number of youth by camping in Bharuch and Baroda districts as well as in the old Gaikwadi districts and villages of the state. Munaf says that my focus is on finding talent from villages and preparing them for the Indian team. We are looking for youths in the age group of 16 to 21 years and taking them to Baroda camp. In which the most responsive boys are being worked hard by BCA. Camps will be set up at many places. If players like me, Zaheer Khan, Rakesh Patel, Lukman can come from villages, why can’t others? Keeping this in mind, we are moving forward. The results will come out in the coming days. Ordinary by nature, Munaf now has only one goal to present the fastest bowler to the Indian cricket team.

Farmer’s son struggling to make it to the Indian cricket team:

Munaf Patel, son of Musabhai, a farmer from Ikhar village in Bharuch district, had no dream of making a career in cricket. He used to play cricket only for his hobby. When he was in class-7, he used to play in his home school and in big and small tournaments. In no time he became famous in the surrounding villages as the fastest bowler and wicket taker. The farmer father did not want his son Munaf to play cricket even for his hobby. Since the financial condition was very bad, Munaf decided to help the family at such a young age and in a tile-making company located near the village, he earned Rs. Did 35 daily wages. However, the school teachers encouraged him to continue playing cricket. In Bharuch and Baroda districts, the name of Munaf Patel started reverberating. The poverty was such that he used to play season cricket only in slippers.

Munaf was helped first by Kiran More and later by Sachin Tendulkar.

Seeing Munaf’s talent and passion, a man named Yusufbhai Patel, originally from Ikhar village and living abroad, got him shoes and started sending him for professional training at Baroda Cricket Association at his own expense. The father wanted Munaf to study a little and go to his uncle in Zambia to do some work, but Munaf’s luck was different. At Baroda, he was noticed by former wicketkeeper Kiran More and Munaf started playing first-class cricket in Gujarat. He was later sent to the MRF Pace Foundation in Kolkata where he was groomed by bowling coach Dennis Lillee. Here Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was impressed by Munaf and suggested him to play Ranji matches for Mumbai and helped him to do so. His good performance there led to his first entry into the England first-class cricket team in 2006, and he took 10 wickets in Tests and attracted the attention of selectors. Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath was seen in profit by the selectors and he got a place in the 2007 World Cup squad. Although the team lost and was heavily criticized for its poor performance, Munaf qualified for Tests, ODIs, T20Is and later the IPL. When pacer Praveen Kumar was injured during the 2011 World Cup, Munaf got a chance and converted it into a result. His bowling was so impressive that he was named the ‘Unknown Warrior’ of the World Cup squad by India coach Eric Simmons. He took two very important wickets in the final and laid the foundation for the victory of Team India.

However, Munaf could not return to the team after suffering a leg injury.

A key member of the 2011 World Cup-winning team, he later took a six-month sabbatical due to an ankle injury, after which he never made it to the Indian team. However, he had 6 successful seasons with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. But among the new talent, no IPL team bid for him in 2014. However, again in 2017, Gujarat Lions picked him up in the squad for Rs 30 lakh. Later, troubled by injury, Munaf Patel announced his retirement from all cricket formats in the year 2018. Munaf has 199 wickets in Test, ODI, T20 and IPL. Munaf could swing the ball from both sides and his fastest delivery was 140 kmph. He was also a normal bowler throwing at a speed of 126 kmph. Munaf expresses his gratitude to God for this height, but the only regret is that he had to say goodbye to cricket due to injury. And now Munaf forgetting that regret, now he is playing an active role in finding a better bowler than himself from the villages and his target is to give the country the fastest bowler.

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