Sayed Shirzad: The Fast Bowler From Afghanistan

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Sayed Shirzad: Afghanistan Cricketer

At the moment, Afghanistan are now for their strong spin bowling unit. Rashid Khan has become the number one T20 spinner in the world and has strong support in Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi. Yet, their fast bowling department is undergoing a revolution. Some of their old faces, such as Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran, have been forced out. The next generation of Afghanistan fast bowlers is here and Sayed Shirzad is leading the rejuvenation. Sayed Shirzad is a left-arm fast bowler who has taken domestic cricket in Afghanistan by storm. Playing for Boost Region, Shirzad has been a prolific red ball bowler since he made his debut when he was 18. Overlooked for Afghanistan’s first ever Test match, against India, Shirzad regained the trust of the selectors when he earned his maiden call-up to Afghanistan’s ODI side for the 2018 Asia Cup.

Sayed Shirzad: T20I Debut

Shirzad made his T20I debut in 2015. This came during Oman’s tour of the United Arab Emirates, giving Shirzad a relatively easy start to his international career. He opened the bowling and produced a great spell of 3-0-16-3. Shirzad was the most economical Afghan bowler in that match and also took the most wickets. Shirzad also played in the second T20I between Oman and Afghanistan. He was equally effective in that game, ending with figures of 4-1-27-2. In fact, Sayed Shirzad was the only bowler in the match to bowl a maiden. His next T20I came soon afterwards, as he was part of Afghanistan’s team that took on Zimbabwe in the second T20 of their bilateral series. Like his first series, Shirzad proved to be a consistent wicket-taking option as he took 4-0-31-2 against a decent Zimbabwe side. One of his two wickets was Graeme Cremer, who has a Test hundred to his name. Since that match, which was early in 2016, Shirzad has not played another T20I. His omission seems somewhat unfair, given the promising start to his career.

 Sayed Shirzad Celebrating Wicket

Sayed Shirzad: Asia Cup 2018

It took two years for Shirzad to work his way back into the international set-up. However, after two more impressive years in domestic cricket, the Afghanistan selectors names Sayed Shirzad in their squad for the Asia Cup 2018. This was his maiden call-up to Afghanistan’s ODI team and he was one of three uncapped players to feature in their squad. Afghanistan were in Group B of the Asia Cup, with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka being the two other teams in their group. India, Hong Kong and Pakistan were in Group A. Afghanistan headed into the tournament as the highest ranked team in Group B, with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka all ranked beneath them.

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Sayed Shirzad’s domestic career

Shirzad plays for the Boost Region in Afghanistan’s domestic cricket. He made his competitive cricket debut back in 2011(Shirzad was 16 at the time), when he played for the Afghan Cheetas against the Rawalpindi Rams in the Faysal Bank T-20 Cup. Shirzad did not have much success in that tournament and has made his name primarily in four-day cricket. He made his red ball debut in 2013, when he played for Afghanistan in the ICC Intercontinental Cup against Kenya. Sayed Shirzad did well on debut, taking 8-1-28-2 and 9-2-17-3 in the first and third innings respectively. This was the launchpad for his career and has since become a regular in the Boost Region’s four-day team. He had a successful 2017/18 domestic season, with his 3/95 and 2/33 against Kabul Region being one of his standout performances.

Sayed Shirzad: A red ball or white ball cricketer?

Sayed Shirzad has played all three formats of cricket to a high level. His T20I performances for Afghanistan were impressive, but his domestic performances have been better with the red ball. When Afghanistan have more Test matches scheduled and start to play the format regularly, expect Sayed Shirzad to be part of their plans.

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