Noor Ahmad Lakanwal of Afghanistan celebrates bowling Bryce Parsons of South Africa for LBW during the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Group D match between South Africa and Afghanistan at De Beers Diamond Oval on January 17, 2020 in Kimberley, South Africa.

17-year-old Afghan youngster impresses on international debut

Afghanistan news

By Amarnath Devaji

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Afghanistan youngster Noor Ahmad was unplayable in his international debut against Zimbabwe in the third and final T20I of the series in Harare.

Just 17 years old, Noor Ahmad showed great maturity beyond his age on his debut for Afghanistan as they defended a low score in the final game of the series to complete a clean sweep.

Born in January 2005, Ahmad, a left-arm wrist-spinner by trait, started turning heads at a very early age and was on the radar of some of the biggest franchises in the world.

Though he only turned 17 earlier this year, the teenager has had a considerable amount of experience on the field, having made his first-class and domestic T20 debut in 2019 at the tender age of 14. 

Video cwc19 15 Jun 22
Best of Afghanistan's Noor Ahmad | ICC U19 Men's CWC 2022

Has already travelled the world and has been part of Melbourne Renegades in Australia's Big Bash League, Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators in Pakistan Super League, Galle Gladiators in the Lanka Premier League and most recently, Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League.

Ahmad has also put on stellar performances on the world stage, having represented Afghanistan in both the 2020 and 2022 ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup. In the 2020 edition in South Africa, he picked up seven wickets in five matches at an economy of just 3.93.

Earlier this year in West Indies, he played a pivotal role in Afghanistan's run into the semi-finals where he was their joint second-highest wicket-taker with 10 wickets in six matches, giving away just 3.81 runs an over. 

Noor Ahmad celebrates after picking up a wicket against Pakistan in the 2020 U19 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup
Noor Ahmad celebrates after picking up a wicket against Pakistan in the 2020 U19 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup

It was only a matter of time before he would be called up to the national side and the dream came true for Ahmad when Afghanistan named him in the T20I squad for the Zimbabwe tour.

With the series sealed 2-0 after the first two games, the youngster was given his debut cap in the third and final game. However, before he could wield the magic with the ball, he had to go out with the willow in hand after Afghanistan collapsed after choosing to bat first.  

In his very first game, the bowling attack was tasked with defending a low score of 125.

Zimbabwe were on course for a win at 40/1 when skipper Mohammad Nabi threw the ball to Ahmad. The left-arm spinner proved to be a lucky charm as off his very first ball, Innocent Kaia was run-out. Ahmad didn't have to wait long for his first international wicket, trapping the veteran Craig Ervine in front of the stumps with the googly in the final ball of his first over.

Noor Ahmad won the Player of the Match award on his international debut (Picture courtesy: Afghanistan Cricket Board)
Noor Ahmad won the Player of the Match award on his international debut (Picture courtesy: Afghanistan Cricket Board)

Tadiwanashe Marumani was Ahmad's next victim, who had his middle stump uprooted off the inside edge. Nabi persisted with the left-arm spinner for the third consecutive over and Ahmad all but finished the game.

Clive Madande holed out attempting to take the spinner on, with substitute fielder Rahmanullah Gurbaz taking a brilliant catch on the boundary. One ball later, Ahmad went through the gates of Donald Tiripano, reducing Zimbabwe to 56/7.

He finished with figures of 4/10 on debut and was rightfully adjudged the Player of the Match. 

Though it is still early for Ahmad in international cricket, he has given a glimpse of what a special talent he is. With world-class spinners in Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and Mohammad Nabi guiding him, the crafty left-arm spinner is bound to level up in the coming years. 

THIS IS THE BIG TIME!

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is coming to Australia from 16 October to 13 November 2022.

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