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Exclusive: When mother's blessings helped Zahoor Khan bowl a wicket-maiden in T10 League

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 27/01/2021 Rituraj Borkakoty
a young girl wearing a hat: Exclusive: When mother's blessings helped Zahoor Khan bowl a wicket-maiden in T10 League © Provided by Khaleej Times Exclusive: When mother's blessings helped Zahoor Khan bowl a wicket-maiden in T10 League

More than a year after hitting the global headlines with a wicket-maiden in the 2019 Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, UAE pace bowler Zahoor Khan says it was his late mother's blessings that helped him weave his magic at the majestic Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Few expected Zahoor to hit the high notes when he began bowling for Deccan Gladiators in that game against the defending champions Northern Warriors, a team that featured several West Indian international white-ball stars.

But Zahoor's variations proved too hot to handle for the Northern Warriors as the 31-year-old pacer bowled a wicket-maiden against Lendl Simmons, the destructive West Indies batsman.

Now as he prepares for his second season with the Deccan Gladiators in the 2021 edition of the star-studded T10 tournament, Zahoor said he would not have been able to script the greatest night of his cricketing life without his mother's blessings.

"My mother, Farhad Bibi, died last year. During the 2019 T10, she was in hospital. We had the match against the Northern Warriors. Before going for the match, I called her to take her blessings. I told her that we were playing against the defending champions which had so many top players. My mother told me, 'go and play your best game. The whole world will remember you'. So when I went to the ground, it was a new story for me. It was after that match that the cricket world came to know about me. I had my mother's blessings. It worked like magic for me that night," Zahoor told Khaleej Times over phone from the team hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Having impressed the Deccan Gladiators coaching staff in the 2019 edition of the tournament, the 31-year-old Zahoor will now be a key player this season for a team that has big names like Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine.

"I am very excited because I have earned respect in this team. Our coach Mushtaq Ahmed, our captain Pollard, they have always supported me," he said.

"In the team meetings, they always say that I am their main bowler. They are very confident of my two overs. Their support has given me a lot of confidence. I am now more motivated to do well for the team because the captain and the coach have been constantly supporting me.

"You feel so good when such legends of the game support you. I think it's a big thing for UAE cricket that these people are supporting me so much."

Remarkably, Zahoor's ability to bowl the slow bouncer had also impressed the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Shane Bond during his stint as a Mumbai Indians net bowler in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League.

The Faisalabad-born player is now aiming to use the slow bouncer in the T10.

"Inshallah, I will try to get all my variations. The Abu Dhabi wickets are little slow, if bowl at the same pace, it's easier for the batsmen to hit," he said.

"You can survive if only you have the variations. So I will try my best to get my slow ball here again!"

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