Teams Played For
Afghanistan, Afghanistan A, Afghanistan Under-19s, Band-e-Amir Region, Mis Ainak Knights
Yet another wicketkeeper-batsman from the reserve stocks of Afghanistan, Afsar Zazai. The keeper-batsman is a young talented orthodox keeper, whose secondary role is batting. As a 16-year-old, Zazai was touted to be one of the finest glovemen to represent his country. However, Mohammad Shahzad’s presence has forced the youngster’s career to kickstart a little late.
As a young virtuoso, Zazai donned Afghanistan colors at an age of 16 years at the U-17 level during the Asian Cricket Council Challenge Cup, which forced his way to the 2010 U-19 World Cup. The youngster flourished at the Junior World Cup and finished the tournament as one of the most successful keepers. He was also part of the squad for the 2012 event and repeated the feat in the succeeding competition.
At 18 years of age, the keeper-batsman made his first-class debut during the ICC Intercontinental Cup game against the Netherlands, where he scored a composed 84 and took six fine catches. A year later, he made his T20I debut against Kenya, before making his ODI debut against UAE. Zazai celebrated his ODI debut with a fighting knock of 60 runs, apart from producing a stumping and a catch.
Zazai was also part of Afghanistan’s squad for the 2015 World Cup and played in the tournament ahead of Shahzad. However, he didn’t have the best of times with bat but grabbed six splendid catches in the ICC event to earn applause for his work behind the stumps.
In March 2017, the Kabul-born scored his maiden first-class century against Ireland and helped Afghanistan post a mammoth first innings total of 537 runs. A year later, he made his Test debut against India at Bangalore.
More often than not, Zazai gets sidelined from the selection due to the problem of plenty in the wicketkeeping department. The team has half of the dozen for the position and all of Zazai’s competitors are more explosive batters than him. However, his clean glovework makes his case stronger, at least in the longer formats.
(As of March 2021)