It was a heartbreaking moment for 19-year-old Zahir Khan from Afghanistan when he couldn’t play for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 due to a shoulder injury.
But the Chinaman made up for the lost time by making an impressive debut for Lancashire in the T20 Blast England.
Zahir was given the ball in the 8th over of the Durham’s innings. He started off well giving just 4 runs in his first over. In the next over, he outfoxed left-handed batsman Liam Trevaskis with a wrong one which hit his leg stump. The youngster did not seem to be afraid of pitching the ball up.
In the next over, he trapped former England cricketer Paul Collingwood in front of the stumps getting him leg before wicket. Collingwood went for a sweep but could not get bat on it. The 42-year-old has played spin in subcontinent pitches over a decade but he could not pick Zahir’s delivery. He ended with commendable bowling figures of 2 wickets for 19 runs in 4 overs.
Zahir was a part of Afghanistan team in Under-19 World Cup 2018 which reached the semi-finals. With an increase in the number of wrist spinners, Zahir might be another addition to Afghanistan’s spin-brigade which already has spinners like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and veteran Mohammad Nabi.
Afghanistan players have had a decent run in the T20 Blast tournament so far. Rashid made a fantastic debut for Sussex. Nabi recently rescued Leicestershire by winning the game single-handedly with his quickfire 92. And now Zahir has joined the party too.
Currently, Kuldeep Yadav is one of the best wrist spinners around. He castled English batsmen at a regular basis in the recently concluded limited overs series. Zahir may join the current crop of Chinaman bowlers playing international cricket.