Sameer Rizvi's IPL windfall brings smile on ailing dad's face

Sameer Rizvi
Sameer Rizvi is a big-hitter. Photo: X@ ChennaiIPL

Bengaluru: Sameer Rizvi and his uncle Tankeeb Akhtar were choked with emotions as Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Gujarat Titans and Delhi Capitals engaged in an intense bidding war for the 20-year-old Uttar Pradesh batter in the IPL auction on Tuesday.

The paddle final settled at a whopping Rs 8.4 crore with Rizvi going to the CSK's 'Anbu (Love) Den.' For IPL 2024.

The roseate moment came after massive struggles for the Rizvi household as his father Haseen has not been able to work owing to poor health. Now the physically fragile yet proud dad can afford to smile. After all, the son will be able to afford best medical treatment for his father, who suffered brain hemorrhage three years ago.

"We were expecting Sameer to get picked by some team in the auction. But we never expected for this big money or CSK to bid for him," Akhtar said from Meerut.

Now, the Rizvis are looking ahead to a brighter future.

"Sameer has a lot of ambitions - buying a good house, proper treatment of his father and a lot of things like that. Allah dua kare, he can meet all of that.

"Sameer is quite thrilled that he can finally have a meeting with (M S) Dhoni bhai from close quarters and share space with him," a delighted Akhtar said.

Rizvi too shared his excitement about the chance to play for CSK but admitted that he was nervous when his name came up in the auction.

"I noticed that 4-5 players before me went unsold. I was nervous at that time. But he (Dhoni) has always been my idol. I am very excited, yet nervous about the prospect of meeting him. I have never seen him in front of my eyes," Rizvi told the Jio Cinema.

So, what has prompted the CSK and other teams to go on a bidding war for this Uttar Pradesh lad.

Rizvi caught the eyes of IPL talent scouts for the first time during the UP T20 League while playing for Kanpur Super Stars.

He hammered 455 runs from nine matches including the fastest hundred in the tournament off 47 balls.

Rizvi carried that form into the state Under-23 tournament where he smashed 454 runs from seven matches.

But more than those runs, it was Rizvi's ability to clear the ropes by miles that fascinated the scouts. The young batter smoked 72 sixes across 16 matches in those tournaments.

"It is his natural game. He has been a big-hitter from a young age. He has interacted and played with seasoned players like Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh (in UP T20 League) and they have also told him to play his natural game. It helped him a lot," said Akhtar.

Rizvi was sceptical of getting an IPL contract once he missed trials with a few teams because of his state commitments.

"I told him don't worry and the opportunity will come to you. You keep performing on the field. SG, the cricket gear manufacturer) helped him a lot through sponsorship of equipment."

The uncle doesn't want his nephew to just make waves donning 'Canary Yellow' but realise his ultimate goal of wearing the 'India Blue'.

"Now, we are happy that our efforts have borne fruits, and finally it (IPL contract) has come his way. There are tears in the eyes of everyone at home. Hopefully, he will go and play for India one day," said Akhtar, who is also his childhood coach at the Gandhi Bagh Cricket Academy.

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