After Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, there is another Afghan star who is making all the right noises. He is a young Afghan off-spinner named Mujeeb Zadran. First, he bowled his heart out to help Afghanistan win Youth Asia Cup, beating Pakistan in the final.
Then, he made his international debut at the age of just 16 years against Ireland. He took 4 wickets in his debut ODI against Ireland and won player of the match award. He followed up that performance with two wickets in the second ODI against Ireland. Such has been Zadran’s show that he opened the bowling for Afghanistan ahead of big names such as Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.
But that is not the only reason why he has entered record books. In fact, he created record even before bowling the first international ball of his career.
Mujeeb Zadran is the first male cricketer born in the 21st century to make international debut at an age of just 16 years. There will many more to follow. But Zadran will be the first-ever cricketer born in 21st century to make international debut.
Zadran came to light post Afghanistan’s successful campaign in Youth Asia Cup. Zadran was the more successful bowler in the tournament, taking 20 wickets in five matches with three five-wicket hauls. Mujeeb Zadran was the hero of the final, taking 5/13 to bowl out Pakistan for just 63 to help Afghanistan win the title round by 185 runs.
The young teenager showed no signs of nervousness while playing against big names in the ongoing ODI series against Ireland. Afghanistan coach Raees Ahmadzai made an observation about Zadran post Afghan’s win over Ireland in the first ODI.
“The good thing is that when I talked with him that maybe it would be your debut match today, he just gave me a very nice smile and I realized he had confidence. It’s good and he showed himself that ‘I’m good enough to play for the national side,” Ahmadzai said in the press conference.
Ireland skipper William Porterfield too had a word of praise for the young spinner. “He’s obviously a very good bowler and I think he’s pretty effective potentially with the new ball as well,” he said.