Afghanistan has been under the cloud of violence for many decades. Under such circumstances, cricket provides them with an excuse to share a smile. For small children, cricket is their escape from frightening explosions and other daily troubles. Picking up a plank and a ball makes them forget all the day-to-day problems. Some of them took up cricket as a profession and are earning fame and respect worldwide. Let’s have a peek at the Top 10 Youngest Afghanistan Players to make international debut-
1. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Born in Khost, Mujeeb Ur Rahman Zadran is the youngest Afghan player ever to make his international debut. He is the first player born in the 21st century to play international cricket. Mujeeb entered the international arena in an ODI match against Ireland at Sharjah at the age of 16y 252d. 2 months after his debut, he became the youngest ever to take a fifer in an ODI match. His economy of 6.04 is the fifth-best in T20I cricket (as of 1 January 2022).
Naveen-ul-Haq Murid made his international debut at the age of 17y 2d. He did so in an ODI match against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2016. He got Mashrafe Mortaza out in that match as his first international wicket. He has taken 32 wickets in the 20 international games he has played. His best bowling came in the 2nd ODI against Ireland in 2021, in which he picked up 4 for 42 in 10 overs.
3. Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan has been a complete package and has been shattering records since his debut at the age of 17y 28d in 2015 in an ODI against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo, in which he bowled a superb spell of 1-30 (10 overs). With his quick-arm leg-spin action, he has taken 277 wickets. In 2018, he became the youngest ODI captain ever after leading Afghanistan against Scotland at Bulawayo. In 2019, he led Afghanistan against Bangladesh in a test match to become the youngest test captain ever. In 2019 against Ireland, he became the first bowler to take a double-hattrick in a T20I.
4. Aftab Alam
Wearing a headband with the colours of the Afghanistan flag, Aftab Alam is one of the bowlers who generate their pace from their shoulders. He made his international debut aged 17y 78d in an ODI against Canada at Sharjah in 2010. He is a proven ODI pacer, with 41 wickets in 27 matches. He returned his best ODI figures against Ireland at Dehradun in 2019, when he got rid of 4 batters, giving just 25 runs in 8 overs to restrict Ireland to 114.
5. Usman Ghani
Usman Ghani is the youngest batsman to debut for Afghanistan. He did so at the age of 17y 162d against Hong Kong in ACC Premier League in 2014 at Kuala Lumpur. In that match, he smashed 70 (68) and took 1/21 (his only international wicket) to take the honour of Man of the Match. He is the 2nd youngest player to score an ODI century, which he achieved against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in 2014.
6. Waqar Salamkheil
Waqar Salamkheil is a left-arm wrist-spinner who made his debut in a test match against Ireland at Dehradun in 2019. That stays his only international match so far (as of 1 January 2022). In that match, he contributed with 4/101 across both innings. His debut came at the age of 17y 164d.
7. Ibrahim Zadran
Ibrahim Zadran debuted at 17y 267d in a test match against Bangladesh in Chittagong. He smashed 87 in the 2nd innings. He has 356 runs to his name in 8 innings. If needed, he can also chip in with some overs. He has a test wicket of Ryan Burl to his name.
8. Rahmanullah Gurbaz
He is a wicket-keeper-batsman who debuted in a T20I against Zimbabwe in 2019 at Dhaka. He opened the innings and scored a 24-ball-43 to help his side post 197/5. In his ODI debut against Ireland in 2021, he hit a run-a-ball 127 and then scored 2 stumpings to be adjudged the Man of the Match. In March 2021, in a T20I against Zimbabwe, he smashed 45-ball-87, his best score in T20I.
9. Shabir Noori
Shabir Ahmad Noori is an Afghan top-order batter who debuted at 17y 361d in an ODI against Canada in 2010. His best innings came in an ODI against Canada in 2011, when he scored a match-winning 94 while chasing 213 in 43 overs. He was the Man of the Match. He played his last international match in 2016 before he was dropped.
10. Karim Janat
Karim Janat is a right-handed bowling all-rounder who made his international debut aged 18y 125d against UAE in a T20I in 2016. He scored 25 (24) and then picked up 3/31 to be adjudged the Man of the Match. He has so far taken 30 wickets in T20I, with his best 5/11 coming against West Indies in 2019. His best batting came against Zimbabwe in 2021 when he hit a 38-ball-53. He has the unique distinction of getting West Indian Evin Lewis out 4 times in T20I.