In the world of cricket, size doesn’t always dictate success. A recent incident during Australia’s net session ahead of the opening ODI against India showcased this beautifully. Sameer Khan, a diminutive 16-year-old class XI student from Kapurthala, stood at just five feet tall. However, his bowling skills were anything but small.
During the practice session, Sameer made life difficult for the towering Marcus Stoinis, who stands at an imposing 6’4″. Sameer, with his slow left-arm orthodox tweakers, bowled to Stoinis for over 20 minutes, and the sight of an international batter struggling against a schoolboy was truly fascinating.
Stoinis, impressed by Sameer’s talent, acknowledged his skills with a “Well bowled” a couple of times. It became evident that appearances can be deceptive, as Sameer seemed to trouble Stoinis by hurrying him with the pace of his deliveries and maintaining a flatter trajectory.
Sameer modestly said, “I got Stoinis leg-before a couple of times today. The coaches didn’t ask me to bowl any specific line, but I bowled what came naturally to me. Stoinis was having some difficulty when he went on the back foot. I bowled fast and pitched it up.”
Sameer’s talent didn’t go unnoticed. He has been included in Punjab’s U-19 probables’ list and has been given the opportunity to bowl at Australian batters. Just the previous day, he had the chance to bowl to the legendary Steve Smith, describing it as a “great experience.” Some of the Australian players even complimented him on his skills.
Hailing from a modest background, Sameer is the son of a bed-sheet seller in Kapurthala. He shared, “We are four brothers and a sister, and my parents are completely supportive of my decision to pursue the sport. I played in the Punjab T20I League and got a chance in seven games, claiming five wickets.”
Australia, preparing for the upcoming matches against India, recognized the need to face quality spinners, especially in the absence of Ashton Agar, who was on paternity leave.
With Kuldeep Yadav off duty for the first two games, it was crucial to practice against spinners. During their net session, four left-arm spinners bowled in tandem alongside Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Mitchell Starc, all in an effort to counter the threat posed by India’s own spin sensation, Ravindra Jadeja.