Abdul Samad is a young Indian cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir. He hogged the limelight owing to his hard-hitting batting skills, which also helped him to earn an IPL contract with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2020. He is only the fourth player from Jammu and Kashmir to make it to the IPL. Be it T20, ODI or Test match, Abdul’s style of batting remains almost the same across all the formats, which is a hallmark of his batting style.
Abdul Samad was born on Sunday, 28 October 2001 (age 19 years; as of 2020) in village Kalakote, located in Rajauri district of Jammu. His full name is Abdul Samad Farooq. He did his schooling from Lawrence Public School, Jammu.
Abdul grew up playing cricket in local grounds of Jammu’s Ustad Mohalla. Looking at Abdul’s rising interest in cricket, his father, who was himself a former sportsperson (national level volleyball player), admitted Abdul to MA Stadium Coaching Centre, the premier sports training academy in Jammu. Abdul was trained there by Randhir Singh Manhas and his assistant Raman Thaploo. Along with fulfilling his cricketing aspirations, Abdul Samad is also equally focussing on his studies. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Physical Education (B.P.Ed) from Sharirik Shikshan Mahavidyalaya, Koradi and will probably finish the two-year course in 2021.
Height (approx.): 5′ 11″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Abdul was born into a middle-class Muslim family.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Mohammad Farooq, has done a Bachelor’s in Physical Education and is a Physical Education master at the District Youth Services and Sports Office in Jammu’s Gandhi Nagar. His mother, Farzana Kausar, is a homemaker. His elder brother, Tayyab Farooq, is also pursuing Bachelor’s in Physical Education from the same college where Abdul is studying.
Abdul’s cricket journey started when he got a chance to play for Jammu’s under-14 cricket team at the age of eleven years. Later, he played in J&K’s under-14 team for three years, the under-16 team for two years, and the under-19 team for one year, before entering the senior team.
The Turning Point
Till the time Samad was playing junior cricket, he wasn’t able to make a noteworthy impact. Most of the times he would lose his wicket quite early while trying to hit big shots. His strike rate was good; however, he lacked the approach to build his inning. In 2018, when he came back to Jammu after playing an under-19 tournament, there was a camp set up at the Science College ground, where the former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan had come in a bid to unearth and groom young cricketing talents from Jammu & Kashmir. A turning point came in Samad’s career when he was spotted by the former Irfan Pathan during the cricket trials that were held at the camp. Irfan, who was then a mentor of Jammu & Kashmir state’s senior team, was taken aback by seeing how easily Samad could smack the ball out of the park. At that time, Samad was just a 16 years old kid. Intrigued by his hard-hitting skills, Irfan Pathan dug up Samad’s performances in the junior level cricket, only to find that Samad hadn’t scored a single half-century yet. Irrfan understood that Samad lacked the patience that is required to score big runs. Irfan made Samad realise his potential as a batsman. Irfan told Samad to focus on building his inning and hitting the ball selectively rather than trying to whack every ball over the boundary rope. Irfan kept him under his canopy and not only trained him as a coach but also guided him as a mentor.
Samad’s coaches and Irfan played a crucial role in improving Samad’s game and his development as a more mature cricketer.
On 21 February 2019, Samad made his T20 debut for Jammu & Kashmir senior team in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match against Nagaland. He played a fiery inning in his maiden game and scored 76 runs in 51 balls. On 27 September 2019, Abdul started his List-A cricket career by playing against Rajasthan in Vijay Hazare Trophy. On 9 December 2019, he played his first Ranji Trophy match for Jammu & Kashmir against Uttarakhand. He was the leading run-scorer for his team in Ranji Trophy 2019-20 with 592 runs in 10 matches. Also, he smashed 36 sixes, highest by any player in the tournament.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) selectors took notice of his powerful performances in the domestic circuit and invited him for cricket trials held before the IPL 2020 auction. The franchise picked him for his base price of Rs. 20 lakh in the auction for IPL 2020. Samad played his first IPL match on 29 September 2020 against the Delhi Capitals.
He contributed in the team’s performance with the bat and also with the ball as a part-time bowler. He largely played the role of a finisher and successfully won a few games for his team while batting in the lower order.
- Although millions of cricket fans around the world are familiar with Abdul’s ability with the bat, most of them don’t know about his hidden singing talent. Abdul Samad is blessed with a soulful singing voice. Here is a clip from one of his singing sessions.
- Abdul Samad’s mother wanted his son to become a doctor. While talking with a media correspondent, she revealed that her son was also brilliant at academics during his childhood, and due to this, she used to tell Abdul to indulge less in sports and spend more time with his books. However, looking at her son’s talent and passion for cricket, she gradually started supporting him.