Groomed by player-cum-coach Irfan Pathan, scouted by VVS Laxman, hard-hitting batsman Abdul Samad became the third player from Jammu and Kashmir to feature in the Indian Premier League with his SunRisers Hyderabad debut. Parvez Rasool and Rasikh Salam were the first-two players in that order to feature in the IPL while Manzoor Dar never got a game.
Samad is a rookie. He hasn't played too many matches for his state team. But in as many, he has played, the teenager has made his intentions clear. He is a hard-hitting batsman, who can play the finisher's role for SRH. The Kala Kot-born player has all the essence which SRH were looking for ahead of the IPL 2020 when mentor VVS Laxman approached Jammu and Kashmir coach Milap Mewada.
Laxman was clear in his thoughts, SRH were looking for a finisher, someone who could take them over the line or add crucial runs lower-down the order. And Mewada, recommended the name of Samad to Laxman. It was not the only recommendation Samad got, but mentor Irfan Pathan too wanted Laxman to go for him.
Samad has every aspect a finisher needs. And one would expect him to get better at SRH under the watchful eyes of Laxman and coach Trevor Bayliss, who replaced Tom Moody. The 18-year-old has featured in 11 T20 matches for his state team and scored 240 runs with the high score of an unbeaten 76. He averages a staggering 136.6 and gave a glimpse of what he could do in their win against Delhi Capitals.
Samad, on his debut, faced seven deliveries and remained unbeaten on 12 runs. He also smoked one into the stands to help his side reach a competitive total of 162/4. The first impression of Samad showed that he wants to have a swing at every ball and when he connects he connects big.
Interestingly, ahead of the IPL 2020, he was in Vadodara to take tips from his mentor Irfan Pathan. In a season, which has seen young talents leaving their mark, Samad could well be the next on the list.