Munaf Munsa Patel
Full Name: Munaf Munsa Patel
Born: 12th July 1983, Ikhar, Gujarat, India
Team : Mumbai, Maharashtra, India          Batting Style: Right Hand Bat
Bowling Style: Right Arm Fast
Test Debut: India Vs England, 2nd Test at PCA Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh, 2005/06 
ODI Debut: Yet to make Debut 
Few mediumpacers had generated as much hype before bowling a ball in first-class, let alone international cricket as Munaf Musa Patel, the young boy from the little town of Ikhar in Bahruch, Gujarat did in early 2003. Kiran More, now chairman of selectors, had seen him bowl in the nets and sent him straight to the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai to train under TA Sekhar and Dennis Lillee. Soon he was being hailed as the fastest man in Indian cricket. Then, even as Baroda and Gujarat vied for his services, Patel chose Mumbai, after Sachin Tendulkar had taken special interest in him and had a word with the authorities in the Mumbai Cricket Association. Even then Patel's first-class career was anything but smooth as he spent more time recovering from various injuries than actually playing. 

Strongly built though not overly tall, a wild mane flowing behind him as he bustles up to the bowling crease, gathering momentum before releasing the ball with a windmill-whirl of hands, Patel's priority is to bowl quick. And it was this that first caught the eye about three years ago. Now he has added reverse swing to his repertoire and has troubled batsmen with a well-directed yorker. After plenty of speculation and close calls he finally received a call from the national selection panel for the second Test against England in March 2006, after an impressive performance for the Board President's XI saw him pick up 10 English wickets for 91 runs.

A young man, of about 20 was called to Bangalore by John Wright from the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai, where he was training under Dennis Lillee. Yes, he was Munaf Patel, India's new pace bowling sensation. He was specially parachuted in by the Indian management, because of frequent hype about his ability to bowl quick and swing the ball late. He teamed up with other pacers like Sreesanth of Kerala, Saurav Sorkar of Bengal and Amit Uniyal of Punjab as the regular net bowlers to the members of the Indian conditioning camp at Bangalore. There is where, he became a revelation to the Indian team and of course, the Indian Media.

He, of course made his first class debut for India A against the Kiwis at Rajkot and looked more than impressive for a person sans prior match experience. Picking up a player of Nathan Astle's caliber twice in a match is any bowler's dream start to his first class career. Then came the biggest moment of his career thus far. A transfer conducted from his ex-home team Gujarat to Mumbai, which was by the recommendation of none other than Sachin Tendulkar himself. Thus, this young lad from Baruch became now the man for Mumbai. I can recall of one such switch of sides, that has produced one of the lethal weapons of international cricket - Adam Gilchrist. The story goes like this...Gilly found it really difficult to break it into the New South Wales first XI because of rigorous competition. So, sanity prevailed and he chose the WACA as his new home. He went on to play for Western Australia for 2 seasons, before he got a call up for the Aussies and how, his stature in World Cricket cannot be with a shadow of doubt questioned by anyone. Similarly, with Munaf, he has made the right move although it seemed controversial. I feel, his only chance of advancing to the top is playing with a quality side like Mumbai, which by itself gives a competitive atmosphere.

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