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Brace up for the 'Tornado' this IPL
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MUMBAI: If Shane Warne is to be believed, then Rajasthan Royals have just discovered another pocket dynamite ahead of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL). He's a bowler, all of 5'7", just 18 years of age and Warne can't stop gushing about the way he bowls left-arm fast.

If Warne discovered the likes of Swapnil Asnodkar last season, who with his belligerent strokeplay set for Royals the perfect strike rate, this year it is Kamran Khan, who has impressed the former Australian leg-spinner.

It took just six balls from Khan, while bowling against the Cape Cobras in a warm-up tie at Cape Town on Saturday, to convince Warne that he has something special up his sleeve, something that might just allow him to sleep peacefully in the absence of Sohail Tanvir and Shane Watson, who, Warne says, would be sorely missed.

What makes the story even more interesting is that this teenager from Azamgarh is yet to play even first-class cricket!

As part of the team rule, Warne immediately gave a nickname to this youngster that alone should set the alarm bells ringing in opposition camps. "We've got one young player who's going to be very interesting. We're tossing up now what his nickname is going to be... Wild Thing or Tornado, something like that. Kamran Khan is a young kid, a left-armer, a slinger, he's a little guy but he bowls 140-plus," Warne said, brushing aside his team's 18-run loss to the South African domestic T20 champs and preferring to revel in the Royals' new discovery.

That one over of Kamran featured a seething yorker that sent Cobras' captain Justing Ontong's middle stump cartwheeling a fair way. It was enough evidence for Warnie, the master tactician, to immediately pull Kamran out of the attack, lest the other teams learn more about him because the match was being televised live as well.

Kamran's coach Naushad Khan had no doubt about the boy's amazing potential ever since he saw him bowl with a tennis ball almost five years back in Azamgarh. "Everything about his bowling attracted me. He is really short for a fast bowler, but his unique action, which gathered momentum in the last four steps and finished with a grunt, convinced me that he was special. Before the release, he takes off so much that his left leg almost touches the umpire's face, and the right one gives the impression that he is swimming. It's a delight to watch," says Naushad, adding: "He is a natural talent, straight from the village."

Kamran's shoulders are very strong, by virtue of having cut a lot of wood back in his village. "He has stamina and I tested it by making him bowl yorkers after the training for the day was over," adds Naushad.

Kamran was signed up for an annual contract of Rs 12 lakh by RR after assistant coach Darren Berry saw him bowl at the DY Patil T20 event. Naushad says he found Kamran and Abdulla together. "However, I couldn't take Kamran along initially because his family was reluctant. His father expired, then his mother. Later, he agreed and I got him to stay in a room that I have along with Iqbal. He has struggled a lot, so I know he would stay grounded even when he achieves success," says Naushad.

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