Player Profile: Mohammad Shahzad

Mohammad Shahzad

Date of birth:

July 15, 1991

Teams Represented:

Afghanistan

Batting style:

Right-hand bat

Bowling style:

N/A

Mohammad Shahzad may not feature on many people’s ‘players to watch’ list but the young Afghan deserves his place among ours.

Afghanistan are currently enjoying a rich vein of form that has seen them qualify for the World Twenty20 in April, and a lot of their recent success is down to their 18-year-old star batsman, Shahzad.

Shahzad made his first-class debut against a Zimbabwe XI but it wasn’t until Afghanistan’s tour of the Netherlands in 2009 that he made his mark. Shahzad made history by becoming the first Afghan to score a century in a One Day International, scoring 110.

Afghanistan stunned the cricket world by qualifying for their first major ICC tournament, the 2010 World Twenty20, during the preliminary tournament in Dubai.

They beat hosts United Arab Emirates to reach the finals in the West Indies, before going on to defeat Ireland to win the qualifying tournament and earn a place alongside the current top two Test-playing nations, India and South Africa, in Group C.

Despite their tough draw, Shahzad is bullish about his country’s chances.

“It’s cricket and anything can happen, especially in T20. We have seen Ireland knock Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup and we have beaten Ireland many times,” he said.

“So it all comes down to how you play – reputations don’t matter on the field. We have a very good team for T20 and our confidence is high. We are not going to the West Indies to socialise; we want to make our nation proud.”

The majority of Afghanistan’s players learnt to play cricket in refugee camps over the Pakistan border (they were in the fifth division of the world cricket league two years ago), making their achievement even more remarkable.

Shahzad’s own meteoric rise has been just as remarkable. In February, he became the first Afghan to score a first-class double century, when he hit an unbeaten 214, as Afghanistan somehow chased down a mammoth 494 against Canada in the Intercontinental Cup.

India and South Africa beware.

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2 comments on “Player Profile: Mohammad Shahzad

  1. The rise of Afghanistan in the cricket world has been one of the most positive and heartwarming stories of the year.
    It’s unlikely they’ll make much of an impact in the World 20/20 tournament but just being there is sufficient to excite interest in the competition.
    I hope that the ICC and other cricketing bodies with money to spare, will be able to fund the development of the game in that country. In years to come, the investment may be repaid many times over.

  2. With players like Shahzad around there is definitely a case for the ICC to allow the minnows to take a gamble in the cricket world cup. In 2011 not so much, but in 2007 Ireland and Bangladesh really did some serious damage in terms of upsets.

    I guess the issue will always be that one star player does not constitute the entire team.