Mumbai: Iqbal Abdulla was only 17 when he migrated to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh with the sole ambition of making it big in cricket. When the Azamgarh-lad first arrived at Azad Maidan, he was astonished to see hordes of cricketers slogging it out for recognition. Abdulla took it as a challenge and aimed to be "different". Four years of hard work finally seem to be paying off for Abdulla ? not just on the field, but also off it.
The decision to remain with the Kolkata Knight Riders despite being a benchwarmer in the last three seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL) paid rich dividends for the 21-year-old left-arm spinner, who bagged the Rising Star award in the recently-concluded fourth edition of the IPL. "It was a very important decision (to stay back). I had spoken to our coach Dav (Whatmore) and he assured me that I would get more chances to play this time.
"In the last three years I got to play very few matches. I was hungry to perform. I was looking for an opportunity. The captain and coach showed tremendous faith in me and that boosted my confidence," Abdulla, who won two man of the match awards in IPL- IV, tells MiD DAY in a chat at his one-BHK residence in Kalina.
While pundits have criticised the IPL for showering excess money on cricketers, Abdulla has used his earnings wisely. He recently bought a "bigger" house for himself in Santacruz East. "More than me, my parents are happy. I am happy to see them happy," he says.