Ahead of the 2021 edition of the IPL, teams are live-streaming their training sessions.
A Chennai Super Kings (CSK) live-stream prompted a fan to tweet – “This left-arm pacer (net bowler) who’s currently bowling to ‘rutu’ (Ruturaj Gaikwad) is bowling some absolute rockets. Probably the fastest bowler in CSK camp.”
The net bowler in question is Fazalhaq Farooqi who is a fast bowler from Afghanistan. Farooqi bowled to Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, and Gaikwad. According to reports, the net bowler stepped up the pace and bounce much to the delight of viewers.
The 20-year-old recently made his international debut for Afghanistan in a T20 match against Zimbabwe picking up a wicket for match figures of 1/27. A match report says, Farooqi took only five balls to make a mark, clean bowling Zimbabwe opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe. It was the third T20 in the series, and a win for Farooqi’s team meant a 3-0 clean sweep against Zimbabwe.
Shortly after, the left-arm bowler was on a flight to India to join the Chennai team for the pre-tournament practices in Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium. He joins South Africa’s Hardus Viljoen as a second net bowler for the side.
Farooqi has played in 12 first-class matches. He’s also played 6 List A and two T20s. In these three formats, he has 22 first-class, 6 list A and one wicket in T20s. Last year he was a net bowler for the Punjab team, bowling to Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, and Mayank Agarwal in the UAE.
Farooqi who also made his test debut against Zimbabwe earlier this year is a rarity in his country. Afghanistan is known more for producing spin bowlers such as Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. He was also part of the U-19 squad that took part in the 2020 Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.
The Afghanistan cricket board’s Twitter also tweeted about the youngster’s inclusion in the Chennai team as a net bowler. On the other hand, Chennai has been hit with a few casualties ahead of their training camps. Australian bowler Josh Hazlewood withdrew from the tournament at the last minute, and one of the team’s support staff tested positive for COVID-19 recently.
Chennai has a history of encouraging young talented bowlers. Currently, South African Lungi Ngidi leads their bowling attack, with Dwayne Bravo playing more of a supporting role. The domestic bowlers include regulars Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.
While they struggle to find a replacement for Hazlewood, and with time running out – this could be an opportunity for Farooqi to make the jump to the squad.