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Oft-ignored Madhya Pradesh pacer Munish Ansari finally gets a chance to shine

Modified 28 Jul 2015
Munish Ansari celebrates after dismissing Andrew Flintoff in 2006 (left); seen during his spell of 3/23 against Namibia (right) 

Munish Ansari, known in Indian cricket circles as the ‘Sehore Express’, is a fast bowler from Madhya Pradesh who will be travelling to the T20 World Cup in his native country next year as a crucial member of the Oman side. This comes after he spent years being ignored by India, and even his state side, according to IBN Live.

Oman, who will be making their first appearance in a top-tier world event, qualified for the event by beating Namibia last week, the 33-year-old Ansari picking up three wickets for just 23 runs in the all-important match.

Munish's brother Yunus says that his recent feats bring a lot of pride to the family, but laments how a bowler who was hitting the 145 kmph mark consistently was left on the fringes of Indian cricket.

Yunus said, "Discrimination was the main reason he was not given the chance in the domestic team. Despite being one of the few pace bowlers around, he wasn't considered in the Division team as well and that forced him to leave the country six years back."

Exploits of Munish’s 145 kmph balls

Munish Ansari’s 145 kmph balls are known to have got the better of many famous batsmen during net sessions – his two most famous victims having been Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Flintoff.

The greatest story heard about Munish’s raw pace, however, is from a contest he had once with Harbhajan Singh – the incident after which he was dubbed ‘Sehore Express’. 

During the finals of a bowling contest, while bowling to Harbhajan, Munish clean bowled him off the very first ball and then followed it up by breaking Bhajji's bat into two with his next. Off the third ball, Harbhajan lost the grip of the bat and it fell a few yards away.

Rahul Dravid, Ajay Jadeja and Wasim Akram are known to have sang high praises of Ansari’s showing in Indian nets.


The state and country that do not care

In present times, when Australian fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu has to resort to spin bowling on Indian pitches to stop getting clobbered, the stories revolving around Munish Ansari’s blistering pace makes it seem that India just might have lost out on some raw talent.

Madhya Pradesh are not performing well in domestic cricket recently, but the state’s cricket board does not appear to be very concerned with the loss of one of their players – a player who will soon get a chance to play in a World Cup.

According to the MPCA secretary Milind Kanmadikar, he had no clue that there was a cricketer in MP with the name of Munish Ansari. He said he needs to have more information before giving any statement.

Published 27 Jul 2015, 19:51 IST
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