Afghan cricketer Mohammad Nabi is gearing up to appear in his second Indian Premier League (IPL) and hopes to prove useful to his Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) team.
In an interview with CricketNext, Nabi said he is thrilled that the Orange Army picked him for a second year in a row.
“This just shows that they have the confidence in me, that I can do well. Tom Moody, coach of SRH has been following my game closely during the Big Bash League and ICC World Cup Qualifiers as well. That's why the management exactly knows how I'm playing, that will help me and the team during the tournament,” he said.
Nabi, who has gained invaluable experience in leagues from Australia, England, Pakistan, Bangladesh, through to West Indies, says he hopes to gain more experience and continue to evolve as a cricketer.
“It's a great feeling to be playing all over the world. I signed for Leicestershire, then I played in Australia and India, and I'm here back again. It's my dream to be a part of all these prestigious leagues. They also give me a lot of experience. There are a lot of international players who play in these leagues, and there's a lot to learn from them. That experience helps me as I pass on this to the youngsters back home. After playing in all these leagues, my confidence is also very high,” Nabi told CricketNext.
Nabi, who did not get a chance to play in Sunrisers’ first game on Monday, said he hopes to get a chance to bat in the next game.
Nabi, who holds the record of scoring the fastest T20I fifty for Afghanistan, said that he would try to achieve a similar feat in the IPL.
"Yes, I will try my best, if I get a chance in batting, to get a fastest fifty in the IPL," he said.
“My performance with the bat has been really good of late. I scored a fifty, a ninety and couple of 40-run knocks in the qualifiers. My batting came out really good, as I managed to bail the team out of trouble in tough situations, being a senior player. That was satisfying as I did for myself and the team as well. I hope I can contribute in SRH’s success as well.”
On the issue of Sunrisers losing their usual captain, David Warner, who was barred from IPL for his involvement in the recent ball tampering scandal, Nabi was not perturbed, reported CricketNext.
“A player being part of the team or not being part of the team is normal. It happens all the time. I think every player needs to step up their game, and I think we can do well. It is just a matter of getting the team combination right. And I'm sure that everyone will perform well throughout the league.
“We have got good all-rounders and bowlers in the team, those two departments are really strong for us. So we can do well in the tournament,” he added.
Asked about Afghanistan’s upcoming Test – the first for the country – in June, Nabi said he was excited about playing the debut match against India, the world’s number 1 team.
“We are really looking forward to playing our first Test against India. We will get to learn a lot playing against the no.1 side in the world. It was a dream to play Test cricket, and that is going to become a reality soon. We started from zero. We covered this distance in just 15-16 years. We are ready for the challenges of Tests.
“Everyone back home is supporting cricket now. Youngsters play a lot of cricket back home, so the scene is really improving. Everyone loves their cricket. So the future for us is really bright,” he said.
Sunrisers, who lifted the trophy in 2016, are scheduled to play their second match of the tournament on Thursday evening when they take on defending champions Mumbai Indians.