Best Players in Afghanistan Premier League : Afghanistan’s rise in the modern day cricket has been the most talked stories in recent years. Despite terrorism, poverty, and lack of proper infrastructure facilities the team has given extraordinary performance over the years. Their story has been the inspiration for other low ranked teams across the world. They are the great advertisers for the sport and already given the best players to the cricket like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb, Mohammed nabi etc. They have proved their mettle once again in recently concluded Asia Cup.
Cricket is slowly getting popularity among the people of Afghanistan. Many parents are now allowing their children to take up the sports thanks to their consistent performance at international level. Afghanistan has reached another milestone by becoming very few nations to hold their own professional t20 league. The inaugural edition of Afghanistan premier league was held between October 5and 21 this year. The event proved to have resounding success because the spectators have gathered in huge numbers and good TRP’s through television ensured the continuity of the vent in upcoming years. With only five teams participated there was a doubt among the organizers whether the event can live up to the expectation. The first edition laid the foundation for a bigger event next year. The overwhelming success brings so much confidence to the organizers and sure there will be a bigger event next year.
Players have also performed extremely well and the event also witnessed many nail-biting encounters. The event served as the basic platform for the budding Afghanistan players to experience the taste of international cricket. Here is the list of top 5 players who performed really well in this Afghanistan premier league:
#1 Mohammad Shahzad
One of the big guns of Afghanistan cricket team Mohammad Shahzad used his opportunity to horn his t20 skills. Known for his explosive batting at top order and accurate wicket keeping skills Mohammed Shahzad is undoubtedly one of the pillars of Afghanistan’s recent success in international cricket. He recorded his highest score of 131 at recently concluded Asia cup against number one ranked Indian team. He continued his rich vein of form in Afghanistan premier league and smashed 344 runs for Paktika panthers. Considering this performance sure that he will gain more t20 contracts across the globe. One of the key members of the Afghanistan team is expected to continue his form to upcoming assignments for Afghanistan.
#2 Rashid Khan
It is quite surprising for everyone that his name is not among the list of highest wicket-takers Rashid Khan showed his all-round abilities in this tournament that fetched him the man of the series award. His all-around performance was the major reason for his team to reach the finals of the inaugural edition. Best leg-spinner among the current generation cricketers and only 20 years of age sure he is going to be the biggest cricketing giants in the years to come.
#3 Chris Gayle
This man needs no introduction in the world cricket. Chris Gayle is the only batsmen to cross 10,000 runs in t20 cricket. He is 38 but still a rocking force when it comes to t20. He continues to play the t20 leagues all around the world and he once again proved his mettle in Afghanistan premier league too. He turned for Balkh legends and was the second leading run scorer of the tournament. He guided his team for the first title win of the inaugural edition of the tournament. He made 315 runs in seven innings that he played and also shares the first place along with Mohammad Shahzad for most number of sixes. He hit whopping 27 sixes in the tournament that provides the sure shot entertainment for crowds.
#4 Isuru Udana
One of the young talents of Srilankan cricket Isuru Udana was the star performer in recently concluded Afghanistan premier league. He used his opportunity very well to get back to the national team. He represented Paktia panthers and accounted for 17 wickets including the match-winning figures of 3/19 against Kandahar knights. He emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament and made a strong claim for his re-entry into the national side. His slow Yorkers and accurate line and length deliveries made him so successful during the tournament. His international career is plagued with injuries and inconsistent performance but this league can be the life-changing one for him as he is expected to get picked for Sri Lanka’s next assignment against Newzealand this September.
#5 Sayed Shirzad
As mentioned earlier this tournament proved to be the best learning curve for budding Afghanistan cricketers and Sayed made most of his opportunities count. He was the second leading wicket-taker in the tournament accounting 16 wickets in 8 matches with the best figures of 4/19. This rookie all-rounder makes his claim to return national duties by this strong performance. This young talent has got all the ability to reach the top level in the years to come.
As told earlier the success of this edition paved way for the even bigger event next year. Young cricketers from Afghanistan will definitely be going to get benefit from this tournament and most importantly it will draw huge money for the cricket board. There is no dearth of talent in Afghanistan. The only thing that needs to be done is molding and nurturing them sure this event will do that for the Afghanistan players. Wish the event should grow even bigger and emerge as one of the best professional t20 leagues across the globe.