Nepal’s Power Hitter: Mohammad Aadil Alam

By @ariescric

These days, a major dynamic of the modern T20 game is which team can hit more sixes. Which team has the superior powerhitters, powerhitters that can clear the boundary with ease at regular intervals, as well as doing so right from ball one.

If you are a powerhitter and have any of the aforementioned attributes, then odds are you would be in high demand in T20 leagues if you can build an elite reputation, as well as even get a hefty bid at the IPL auction. Enter Mohammad Aadil Alam, who has the potential of becoming Nepal’s first renowned powerhitter.

He is an 18-year-old who hails from Simraungadh, located in Province No.2 (also known as Madhesh Province). He is a right-handed allrounder who can bowl medium pace.

Profile

Aadil made his domestic debut aged 16 for Province No.2 in the Manmohan Memorial National One Day Cup 2019/20 on 9th January 2020, playing just two matches. A year later, he played a couple of matches in the Prime Minister Cup 2020/21 (List A).

10 months later, he got a good run in the Cricket Association of Nepal U19 2021/22 tournament (50 overs) playing for the U19 side of Province No.2. Playing 6 matches, he finished as the 10th highest run scorer of the tournament, scoring 141 runs at an average of 47 odd with an awe-inspiring strike rate of 139.60, the highest of any in the tournament. His top score was 87* off 43 deliveries, composed of 7 fours and 6 sixes at a mammoth strike rate of 202.33.

This earned him a call-up to the Nepal U19 side for the ACC U19 Asia Cup 2021/22 held the following month in the United Arab Emirates. Across 3 matches, Aadil top-scored with 49 against Kuwait U19, in which he blasted off 42 deliveries, including 2 fours and 5 sixes to his name! He also took 3 wickets at an average of 33.33 with best figures of 2/46 at an economy rate of 5.55.

Next month, Aadil was again playing for the senior side of Province No.2 in the Prime Minister Cup 2021/22 (T20). Playing 4 matches, he top-scored with a 14-ball 35 against Armed Police Force Club, during which he struck 2 fours and 4 sixes, once again smashing more sixes than fours. He also took 2 wickets at an average of 16 at an economy rate of 8 with best figures of 2/13.

The Nepal selectors evidently saw potential in him, as two months later, Aadil was named in the squad for the Nepal Tri-Nation T20I Series against Papua New Guinea and Malaysia held in Kirtipur.

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Aadil made his international debut in the series opener against Papua New Guinea and smashed an 11-ball 31 at a strike rate of 281.81 to help Nepal post a total of 203/7. Once more, Aadil smashed more sixes than fours during that innings, three and one to be exact.

He made his List A debut against Zimbabwe A two months later, followed by an ODI debut against the United States of America the next month, a series that is a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2.

Aadil struck 36 off 24 deliveries at a strike rate of 150, which also included 3 fours and 2 sixes during the innings. This came against a bowling attack composed of the likes of Ali Khan and Rusty Theron, as he played his role to help Nepal post 274, once again showing his potential as a powerhitter throughout the first innings. Aadil also followed this with figures of 3-45 in 9 overs at an economy rate of 5.

Aadil’s scalps included centurion Steven Taylor, Aaron Jones, and Gajanand Singh. Aadil also helped defend 6 runs in the final over to defend the game.

Technical Breakdown & Playing Style


As we can see above, Aadil’s neutral position against pace and spin are more or less the same. He is somewhat side-on to his stumps, putting him in an ideal position to give the ball airtime; a side-on stance before the initiation of the downswing is correlated with a player being able to maximize his X-Factor Stretch (the difference between your hip-shoulder separation at the point of initiation of the downswing and the point of bat-ball contact, also positively associated with range.

A high backlift is also present against both pace and spin, which should be expected since he is a powerhitter down the order. A high backlift means Aadil is able to impart greater force onto the ball due to more acceleration being generated from the longer path to cover for the downswing to attain bat-ball contact.

In both of the neutral positions, he is in an ideal position to pull, punch and defend the ball, though it does take some extra path to cover to play the pull.

Aadil’s trigger movement against pace

Aadil starts off with an initial backlift that is still relatively high, followed by a bat tap and then a final backlift that is higher than the initial. We also see him shifting his front foot across to the left further. The bat tap helps in loosening the grip due to the extension of the elbow, assisting in playing free flowing shots, as it also helps in synchronizing the shot initiation.

Aadil’s trigger movement against spin

The exact same modus operandi is present again spin: starting off with a relatively high backlift, proceeded by a bat tap and then a higher final backlift. However in this case, we see that the feet do not move at all, and that he remains static throughout the trigger movement, staying side-on to his stumps.

Aadil is also able to clear the front leg, an essential ingredient to succeed as a powerhitter. This is because it gives him the freedom to strike any region of the park, since there isn’t any hindrance to the bat swing, giving him easy access to the ball (as seen above). This has also helped make Andre Russell the powerhitter he is today.

Clearing the front leg allows the batter to be powerful from his base. This is also an indicator of good hand-eye coordination, with the ability to pick length early and still have time to execute the shot.

Aadil Alam is very much predominantly a backfoot player, as well as legside dominant. Much like Mohammad Rizwan, he is heavily committed on the backfoot and looks to pull and drag even outside off balls to the legside.

Attempted yorkers, full/fuller lengths, yorkers, and expect him to clear the front leg and look to attack that delivery the majority of the time, while staying committed on the backfoot.

He generally has a good hitting base against the aforementioned lengths, in clearing the front leg and regularly completing the shot with the full bat swing to end up with eyecandy poses, something that has helped Dewald Brevis become the sensation he is.

Aadil does have an offside game, but it does certainly seem limited for the timebeing, typically looking to cut and slash them to that region.

However, he does have several unorthodox shots at just 19, such as the ramp and scoop. He even has the trademark MS Dhoni helicopter shot, which Rashid Khan also regularly deploys.

On the flip side though, Aadil does often get out trying to play the helicopter shot against yorkers, which saw him perish on both his T20I and ODI debuts.

As mentioned earlier, he is a medium pacer as well. He normally bowls in all 3 phases in both T20Is and ODIs. He is used more of as a sixth bowler option, usually not completing his entire quota. He normally constructs his overs with some cutters here and there. The slower one is his wicket taking delivery, and he frequently looks to continue bowling them after taking a wicket, particularly if the wicket was an off-pace delivery.

Aadil will be in action for the Janakpur Royals in the Nepal T20 League commencing from December 12th, which will see him up against bowlers such as Pat Brown, Mohammad Hafeez and Seekkuge Prasanna. So for those planning on watching the league, do keep an eye out for him. And don’t be surprised if in a few years time, he’ll be playing that iconic helicopter shot in the T20 World Cup and/or in other T20 leagues against your favorite bowler, for as stated in the beginning of this article, Mohammad Aadil Alam has a high ceiling to become Nepal’s first renowned powerhitter.

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