For a 22-year-old cricketer whose career wasn’t moving forward beyond club tournaments and a couple of zonal matches, playing university cricket seemed a better option, in terms of keeping his passion alive. But finding instant stardom was something he only dreamt of.
Kaunain Abbas is a young man who has made his dreams come to reality. He has the nation’s eyes on him after a series full of incredible performances for the Jain University team that won the Toyota University Cricket Championship.
He was a key member of the team and won two man-of-the-match and three best batsman awards, apart from clinching the ‘Player of the Tournament’ honour as well, after JU pipped Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia only by two runs in the finals of the tournament.
Abbas’s feat has earned him a position in the senior Karnataka team that is to play the Syed Mustaq Ali T20 tournament starting Sunday in Shimoga, an opportunity he didn’t expect would come knocking at his doorstep.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, the 1st year MBA grad from JU in Bangalore speaks of this exciting new phase in his cricketing career:
Playing the Toyota University Cricket Championship must have been a whole new experience?
Oh, yes. It was a very good experience. It was as good as any other IPL game. The final was extremely close and exciting.
You are not a new name to those who have been following local cricket, but getting recognition through college cricket must be a new high?
Actually, me getting into the college team happened just like that. I had completed my graduation from Jain University and was playing zonal matches and club matches, but I was missing the excitement of playing university cricket. I wanted to get back into the college team, so I enrolled for the MBA course. University cricket, I thought, would be a good platform, but I never thought that through this tournament I would get a chance to play for the state senior team so fast.
Your photos have gone viral on the Internet, and you seem to have thousands wishing you on social networking sites…
Yes, I feel like I have become a superstar all of a sudden. I come across people asking for autographs, they want to take pictures with me. It feels great. People never knew I had already put in so many years of my life into cricket. I must thank the organisers for making college cricket so popular. There were always rivalries between university teams, but this time the world could witness it, as it was being aired live throughout the world. It was really a different experience.
Do you think you are getting a break at the right time?
Yes, I think so. All these years, it wasn’t as if I was doing well enough to be picked in the squad. I knew I would get selected if I merited it. But I honestly always thought that my performances at the zonal or state matches would matter for me to get picked for the senior team. I am tremendously excited about playing for Karnataka. Playing for the state is the first goal, a dream, for any cricketer. It feels really nice to get a chance.