The Brisbane Heat has confirmed that Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the Afghanistan spinner, would be returning to the franchise for the 2019-20 edition of the Big Bash League (BBL). The 18-year-old tweaker was one of their star performers last season, having picked up 12 wickets at a league leading economy of 6.04. The team has also roped in chinaman Zahir Khan Pakteen.
Zahir was a part of Afghanistan’s historic victory over Bangladesh in Chattogram and is currently plying his trade for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Prior to that, Zahir played for Lancashire in the T20 Blast and was also picked in the 2018 auction for the Indian Premier League (IPL), though he missed out on the latter due to injury.
They are great guys, Mujeeb
Going back to Mujeeb, the Young Turk sounded ecstatic by the Heat’s decision to show faith in him. Last time around, the Heat couldn’t qualify for the semis after finishing fifth on the points table. Mujeeb is confident that next time around, the team will try and go further.
“I had so much fun playing at Brisbane Heat in my first year that I really wanted to return when the opportunity came. They are great guys and I hope we can push for the finals this season,” Mujeeb was quoted as saying in Brisbane Heat’s official website.
Zahir also expressed his delight for joining the Heat and getting to play alongside his ‘good friend’ Mujeeb. “This is a very exciting thing for me, especially to be joining the team where my good friend Mujeeb played last year. He told me great things about Brisbane Heat, so I am looking forward to this challenge so much,” Zahir said.
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It is a real joy to see players like Mujeeb and Zahir grow, says Lehmann
Darren Lehmann, the head coach of the Brisbane Heat, was over the moon after Mujeeb and Zahir got into the team’s scheme of things. Lehmann, also a former Australian head coach, hailed Afghan cricket as the best thing to have happened to cricket in recent years.
“I think the arrival of Afghanistan in international cricket has been one of the best things to happen to the game in recent years, and it is a real joy to see players like Mujeeb and Zahir grow in stature for their country and show their skills around the world,” Lehmann stated.
Apart from Zahir and Mujeeb, other Afghan cricketers like Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Qais Ahmad have also honed their skills in the BBL. Lehman reckons that playing in the BBL has helped immensely in the development of the Afghan players.
“It’s great that the BBL has played a role in helping with that development with the likes of Mujeeb and now Zahir, joining Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Qais Ahmad in getting starts here,” Lehmann, the former Australian cricketer, added.
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