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Najibullah Zadran
source: Twitter

Test-playing nations such as India, England, and Australia have been dominating the cricketing globe. Not to mention World Test Champions New Zealand and South Africa, who crushed India and are currently playing excellent cricket against England. The West Indies used to dominate the sport, but the quality in the Caribbean waned over time.

Some cricket-playing nations that don’t play much test cricket are surprising the dominant teams these days. Afghanistan came close to defeating India twice, once in the Asia Cup in 2018 and then in the 2019 World Cup. The Afghanistan team is well-known for its spin bowling. They’ve beaten teams like Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh and the West Indies with their spin-twin, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman.

The Najibullah Zadran Asia Cup effort that got the world raving

With Asia Cup 2022 going on, Afghanistan has become the first team to qualify for the Super 4s, and this time not only because of their spin bowling. In the opening match, the Afghans bowled out the Lankans for 105 runs, thanks to three wickets from Fazalhaq Farooqi and two wickets each from Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb.

Hazratullah Zazai’s thirty seven and Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s forty powered their team to victory in the eleventh over, chasing down the total.

Najibullah Zadran takes command of the middle order

Najibullah Zadran hit 43 off 17 deliveries against Bangladesh yesterday. Against the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, and Mustafizur Rahman, the left-hander hammered six sixes and a four and helped his team become the first one to qualify for the next round.

Najibullah was born in Logar, Afghanistan, and is a left-handed Afghani middle-order batter. He made his debut against Ireland in 2012. Maybe his debut was a little premature, but the batter turned the tides of his career in 2014. His 99 against Zimbabwe A in an unofficial Test and 60 off thirty two deliveries against Pakistan A in a T20 helped him seal a spot in the 2015 World Cup.

To a world often blindingly obsessed with the game’s biggest names, Najibullah Zadran’s moment of reckoning was a hugely underreported occurrance.

But of course, it’s slightly daft to think that the world is always fair. Well, it hasn’t been to the right-handers always. And do you know why? Perhaps, because of the following:

The allure of the left-handers

There’s something special about left-handers; their bat swings are picture-perfect. Take, for example, the great Brian Lara, Yuvraj Singh, Matthew Hayden, and Sanath Jayasuriya, who are all excellent hitters of the ball. Najibullah Zadran, likely, hits cleanly with the strength of his forearms. He has competed in T20 leagues all across the world, allowing him to battle with players of great calibre.

Not just Najibullah, but also the youngster Rahmanullah, has been identified as one to watch in the future. Not to forget Hazratullah Zazai, who goes after the bowlers from the first delivery. The squad may accomplish great heights in international cricket with these players in the beginning and Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan taking charge as finishers in the shortest format.

Here are a few special knocks from Najibullah Zadran’s bat:

  • 104 off 98 vs Ireland, ODI, India, 2019
  • 81* off 51 vs Zimbabwe, ODI, Zimbabwe, 2021
  • 56 off vs West Indies, ODI, India, 2019
  • 43 off 17 vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2022
  • 60 off 24 vs Sindhis, T10 league, 2019
  • 45* off 16 vs Qalandars, Abu Dhabi T10, 2020
  • 97 off 35 vs Boast Defenders, SCL 2020

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