Mohammad Nabi (pictured) and Rashid Khan will be the first ever players from Afghanistan to play in the IPL © Getty Images
Mohammad Nabi (pictured) and Rashid Khan will be the first ever players from Afghanistan to play in the IPL © Getty Images

Afghanistan’s all rounder Mohammad Nabi had an emotional breakdown upon becoming the first ever player from his country, to be a part of Indian Premier League (IPL). He was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for base price of INR 30 lakhs in Monday’s auction. “This is the happiest day in my life,” Nabi told ESPNcricinfo from Zimbabwe, where Afghanistan are currently playing a five-match ODI series. “I’m very happy [SRH] picked me. A little bit of happiness tears came into my eyes as well when I was selected. It was my dream to play in the IPL and for my dream to come true, that’s why I was so happy at that moment.” FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan 3rd ODI at Harare

Nabi was up for his morning prayers after which he followed the auction online, from his hotel in Harare. He admits not being able to control his feelings when his name came up on the screen and the bidding from the SRH’s team started. Nabi says one of the first persons to congratulate him was the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive, Shafiq Stanikzai. Shafiq says around 150 staffers came to the ACB headquaters to watch the auction.

Initially the Afghan players did not get off to a good start after their skipper Asghar Stanikzai and ICC Associate & Affiliate Player of the Year Mohammad Shahzad receiving no bids. However with the bidding of Nabi it only went well as fellow teammate Rashid Khan also went on to be signed by Sunrisers. Shafiq feels this may prove to be a transcendent moment for cricket in Afghanistan. “Such achievements are giving us more energy and more motivation that we are right in our appeals and our application at ICC level that we want to become a Test nation and a Full Member. The IPL is the No. 1 T20 league in the world, and playing with the likes of David Warner and some of the other greats, being mentored by Muttiah Muralitharan and VVS Laxman, we are quite hopeful and very sure that both of them will perform better and will be ones to look at in the IPL.”

Meanwhile Nabi realises that with this achievement, there will be pressure on him to perform better. However he is hopeful that his experience in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL) will help him. Speaking on the same he said, “It (BPL and PSL) has given me a lot of experience, and inshallah, it will not be difficult to play at the IPL. Maybe the first two games, there will be a little bit of pressure, but after that I hope to play well in the league.” He also expressed his excitement in playing with the likes of Warner, Williamson, Yuvraj, Jordan and Mustafizur and also being coached under Tom Moody and Laxman.

Nabi also admitted having a familiar face in Rashid will ease the situation. On his Twitter account, Nabi tweeted on his enthusiasm of his selection along with fellow mate Rashid’s bid.

He believes that the 18-year-old legspinner, with his global presence, will lead the next generation of Afghanistan’s cricket.