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Moody: This innings could be the turning point in Samad's career

Having come close to taking his side over the line in Sunrisers' last match, Samad proves that he is "worth the investment" with a last-ball six

A last-ball six to overhaul a target of 215 and keep Sunrisers Hyderabad's play-off hopes alive could be "the turning point" in Abdul Samad's young career, according to his ex-coach Tom Moody.
Samad is only 21 but is already in his fourth IPL season, and has found himself in and out of the Sunrisers team this year. By his own admission, he "got lucky" when Sandeep Sharma's overstep on what should have been the last ball of the game granted him a second chance, but he took full advantage in drilling the free hit back over his head for six to clinch a win for his side.
Thirty-one games into his IPL career, Samad is averaging just 18.63 but has scored his runs at a strike rate of 136.67. He is also among a rare group of players who have hit more sixes (21) than fours (20) in the league - a statistic which underlines his power.
"What Abdul Samad has got as a young, emerging player is a rare ability to hit the ball out of the ground," Moody, who worked with Samad in 2021 and 2022, said on ESPNcricinfo's T20 TimeOut show. "He reminds me of a young Yusuf Pathan. He's got that strength, power, and it's a very hard role to play.
"I hope that it gives the management and the franchise confidence that they have got the right person, because that is the hardest part. Forget about the player having confidence, you need the organisation - wherever you are - to have confidence in you, and I think if you look at his erratic selection over the last two years, I think that hopefully this is the turning point for him."
Samad was unable to get Sunrisers over the line in their narrow defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday night, falling in the final over of the game for 21 off 18 balls. Hemang Badani, Sunrisers' batting coach, said that Samad had taken responsibility for the defeat and "stayed strong" in the aftermath.
"Let me start off by saying I have to give full marks to Samad," Badani said, "because he was the first one to come up to me after the previous game and said, 'I should have finished the game.'
"He took ownership of it, and said with nine off six balls, more often than not, batters in the middle would finish games for their side, and he didn't finish it and he was a little unhappy about it. He had a similar instance with the game against Mumbai [Indians]; that again was a game that he felt he could have finished.
"And he was hurting, to be honest. He was hurting. He was like, 'I've been around with SRH, this is my third [fourth] year, I'm a retained player and I really want to make it count. I really want to try and show them that I am worth your time and I am worth the investment.' I think he's ensured that he's stayed strong."
Samad hardly reacted after his winning shot, which Moody said fitted his character. "He's not charging off with his bat in the air; he's a very humble, quietly-spoken guy," he said.
"But behind all that is someone that works extremely hard at his craft and is constantly trying to improve on his game in a role that is exceptionally hard to play. More often than not, you see your mature players playing in those roles, not a 21-year-old.
"Abdul Samad's 21, and we are judging him on his history as a 21-year-old. Let's judge him on his history when he's 28, and then make judgement on whether he's consistent in one of the hardest roles to play."
Badani, meanwhile, said that Samad - and Sunrisers - would take confidence from their victory, which still leaves them in ninth place but with the points table incredibly tight.
"It's a great win, because it gives us momentum," he said. "It will obviously give us confidence. It will obviously give a lot of belief for guys like Samad, because Samad would have felt that he missed out a couple of times.
"To have done it here, the next time he comes in to bat, the next time he's in a situation like this, he'll be a lot more different to what he was in the past."