Two years ago, India crashed out of the World Cup. Even worse was the 2007 World Cup. Dhoni, Zaheer Khan’s house was pelted with stones, Tendulkar, Ganguly’s hotels were attacked. While everyone was worried, he was calm. Sachin asked him,
“Is everything okay at your house?”
“Paji my village has 8000 people and all are mine.”
That player was Munaf Patel.
Four years later, he was a member of the Indian team that won the World Cup. He also took 11 wickets followed by Zaheer and Yuvi.
There was a time when Munaf used to work in a village factory for Rs 35 per day. A friend from the village bought him a pair of shoes worth Rs 400 and sent them to Baroda. While playing for a club there, Kiran More saw him and offered to play for his club.
Seeing his bowling speed, More sent him to the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai where Munaf took bowling lessons under the guidance of Dennis Lillee. Steve Waugh was also impressed by the quality of Munaf and told Tendulkar about Munaf. Tendulkar persuaded him to play for Mumbai. After that he played for Mumbai for few years.
He was a regular member of the Indian team between 2009 and 2011. In the 2011 tour of India, Munaf took two wickets to lead India to victory when South Africa needed 4 runs off 48 balls. Due to this performance, he was also selected for the 2011 World Cup.
After 2011, however, he was never able to make it to the Indian team again due to injuries. Currently he lives in his village Ikhar in Gujarat. He helps everyone who comes home as much as he can, knowing that someone helped him when he needed it.
Munaf’s style of bowling was very similar to that of Glenn McGrath. Many people remember him for that. Many may have forgotten today. Today on the occasion of his birthday, he may be remembered by some.
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