Munaf Patel, the unsung hero of India in 2011 World Cup

Munaf patal
Munaf Patel, the unsung hero of 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup

Munaf Patel was a member of the Indian cricket team that won the World Cup in 2011.

But also, Munaf Patel considers as one of the most unlucky cricketers of India. Munaf Patel was one of the most hype medium-pacers before even bowling a ball in first-class cricket. 

When Munaf Patel made his first appearance in 2003. He has been able to establish himself as the fastest bowler in India. The tall lad from the little village of Ikhar in Bharuch, Gujarat. 

Munaf Patel was first noticed by the then-Indian chairman of selectors Kiran More. He was highly impressed by the raw pace. Kiran More took the initiative to send Munaf Patel to the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. With his raw pace, Munaf Patel got the attention of visiting Australian captain Steve Waugh and director Dennis Lillee, a former Australian fast bowler. From there, everything was so easy for Munaf Patel. 

Munaf Patel Career

In Domestic Cricket

When Baroda and Gujarat battled for their services in domestic cricket, MunafPatel selected Mumbai. Because Sachin Tendulkar expressed interest in him and spoke with Mumbai Cricket Association officials.

But playing any Ranji Trophy match, Munaf Patel played for India A against touring New Zealand at Rajkot. In that match, he got three wickets in the first innings. Stephen Fleming, Scott Styris, and Nathan Astle were trapped in his bowling. And in second, Munaf again got the wicket of Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle.

Munaf Patel began his Ranji Trophy career with Mumbai, but he moved to Maharashtra after Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit and captain Sairaj Bahutule switched to Maharashtra. However, his time in Maharashtra came to an end on a sour note, and he moved on to Baroda. 

Munaf Patel played domestic cricket with the Baroda team until his retirement. From Baroda, he ends his domestic career. In November 2016, Patel played his last Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu.

The first-class career was not smooth for Munaf Patel even back then. He spent more time recovering from injuries than playing.

READ: Karun Nair Scored 300 In Test, But Captain Kohli Ignored

He played 69 First-Class matches, got 231 wickets, and his best bowling is 6 for 13. 

Munaf Patel For India

In Test Cricket

Munaf, who is well-built, picks up speed as he approaches the crease before delivering the ball with a windmill-like motion of his hands. In his early years, his primary objective was to bowl fast. 

It was this that drew the attention of More and others. Later in his career, he added reverse swing to his toolbox and wreaked havoc on batters with a well-directed yorker. 

After some speculation and near misses, the national selectors finally called him for the second Test against England in March 2006. But before his national call, Munaf had an excellent performance for the Board President XI. In that match, he took ten English wickets for 91 runs.

On 9th March 2006 in Mohali, Munaf Patel made his debut against England. It was an event to remember for Munaf. His first Test wicket came when he caught and bowled Kevin Pietersen. Interestingly, his second wicket Andrew Flintoff was caught and bowled as well. 

In the first innings, he took three for 72 as England was all out for 300. India got a 38-run lead. Munaf and Anil Kumble bowled England out for 181 runs in the second innings. Munaf Patel took four for 25 runs as India won the match by nine wickets. 

His seven-for-97 match figures the best by an Indian pace bowler on debut. Following that, he had a very consistent series against the West Indies, in which he repeatedly troubled Brian Lara. 

However, as with other Indian fast bowlers, injuries, carelessness, and a lazy attitude forced him to exit. 

His pace and a spot in the team started losing as a new generation of fast bowlers arrived on the scene. Munaf Patel played 13 test matches for India and got 35 wickets. 

In One Day International(ODI)

Munaf Patel could reverse swing the old ball, which has befitted him in bowling at the death overs. His main strength was the leg cutter, which is a great strength for any bowler in ODI cricket. Also, Munaf has designed his bowling action like Glenn McGrath. Some have even compared his rhythmic accuracy to that of the living legend. 

Munaf Patel made his ODI debut against England just 20 days after his Test debut. 

Munaf Patel got 3/18 in the first match of India in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy against England. His performance helped India to win the game. Munaf Patel received the man of the match award.  

Although, Munaf was a member of two World Cup squads in 2011. He played a very important role for India to win the 2011 World Cup.

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Before the 2011 World Cup, India was going for the final warm-up series against South Africa. He was recalled for the ODI series. 

After being lost in the first match of the series, M. S. Dhoni decided to bat first in the second match and made only 190 runs. 

Munaf Patel had a Man of the Match performance, delivering his career-best Bowling figures of 4/29 off nine overs, including the final wicket of Wayne Parnell, to lead India to a 1-run victory. It was the first win for India in South Africa since 2003.

His career was hampered by injuries. But in an ironic twist, he was the one who profited from one when Praveen Kumar was ruled out from the World Cup squad of India in 2011. 

Munaf stepped in to take over as the third seamer for India. Patel got four wickets in India’s opening World Cup encounter against Bangladesh. In the tie match against England in the world Cup, Patel broke up an opening partnership with England. Then he removed Kevin Pietersen by caught and bowled.

 He was a key player in the India-Pakistan semi-final match at Mohali. In the final against Srilanka, Munaf did not get any wicket, but he was very economical.

Munaf Patel, according to the then-bowling coach Eric Simmons of India was the “unsung hero” of India’s 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup victory. 

Munaf finished the tournament with 11 wickets, as third-highest wicket-taker for India, behind Zaheer Khan (21) and Yuvraj Singh (15).

READ: Robin Uthappa The Tragic Hero Of Indian Cricket

Munaf Patel was more useful for the ODI than Test cricket. But injuries did not allow him to play regularly for India.

Munaf Patel played 70 ODI for India and got 86 international wickets.

In T20

Munaf Patel played only three T20I for Team India. He made his T20 debut against South Africa at Durban on 9th January 2011. And the last T20 he played against England at Manchester on August 31, 2011. Munaf Patel got only four wickets in T20 Internationals.

In IPL

Munaf Patel started his IPL career with Rajasthan Royals. He played for three consecutive years. In 2008 Rajasthan Royals became champion and Munaf Patel played a very important role in that success. 

In 2011 he was bought to Mumbai Indians with 3.2 corers. Munaf Patel played for three more editions. He has also won two IPL titles, the first one in 2008 with Rajasthan Royals. The second time was in 2013 with Mumbai Indians. 

His fielding and batting were ridiculous and bordered for the teams. In the 2014 IPL auction, Munaf Patel was not picked up by any team. In 2017, he played for the Gujarat franchise in the Indian Premier League. That was his last competitive match. Munaf Patel could not do much there and eventually faded from his cricketing career.

Controversy

Munaf Patel has a reputation for being laid-back off the field. But he has also got a name for having a temper on the field through the years. 

READ: Parthiv Patel’s Career Was Finished By The Arrival Of MS Dhoni

In 2008, during an ODI against Sri Lanka at Dambulla, he was fined 75% of his match money for shouting at the umpire for rejecting an LBW appeal. A few months later, he criticized Virender Sehwag in a Delhi vs Rest of India Irani Trophy match. During an IPL match, he had a confrontation with Amit Mishra and later made inappropriate remarks at Nitin Saini again during an IPL match.

Retirement

In November 2018, Munaf Patel announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket. He could be proud of the fact that among the pacers he played with, he was one of, if not the last to leave. His contemporaries like Zaheer, Nehra, and Praveen all quit cricket before him. 

Munaf Patel said about his retirement that he did not feel unhappy when he retired because, in his opinion, time had gone, and everyone had to leave the game at some point. 

Finally, one can only conclude that it was a career that won a World Cup. But he promised so much at the beginning of his career. He could have delivered even more if he could maintain his fitness.

But Munaf Patel is one of the unlucky cricketers of India, not due to a lack of opportunities. But, several injuries forced him to spend more off the field than on the field at his pick time.

In 2009, Munaf Patel engaged Taslima, a girl from his native village. In 2010, the couple got married.

Team Played

India, Asia XI, India Green, Board Presidents XI, Mumbai, Rajasthan Royals, Baroda, Mumbai Indians, India B, West Zone, Gujarat Lions, Rajputs, India Legends, Kandy Tuskers

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