Afghanistan’s 19-year-old leg-spinner capped an exceptional, wicket-laden year with the prestigious Associate Cricketer of the Year award.
Still in his teens, it’s incredible to think how many international wickets Rashid Khan will have taken by the end of his career. The leggie has already claimed 112 for his country and he doesn’t turn 20 until September.
He took 60 wickets in 2017 alone – a record for an Associate player in a calendar – and 43 in ODIs – another record for a player from outside the Full Member nations – making him a thoroughly deserved winner of the Associate Cricketer of the Year award.
With a bowling style reminiscent of Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Khan never gives batsmen a moment’s rest, with his fizzing googly his weapon of choice. He used it to devastating effect against West Indies last June, ripping through the hosts to claim a haul of 7/18 at St Lucia – the fourth-best figures in the history of ODI cricket.
He was similarly destructive against Ireland last March, taking 6/43 in the second ODI at Greater Noida after claiming the scarcely believable figures of 5/3 in a T20I versus the same opposition a week earlier. Khan is also a more-than-useful batsman, with a batting average of 22.09 in 2017 and a strike rate of nearly a run a ball. He struck his second ODI half-century against Ireland last March, top scoring from No.9.
His superlative performances have caught the attention of T20 teams around the world and he has made a splash at the Indian Premier League and Big Bash League in Australia.
With Afghanistan set to play their first ever Test match against India this year, having been granted Full Member status last June, Khan will be relishing the opportunity to showcase his skills in the five-day game.
After fighting off strong competition from Ireland captain William Porterfield and Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer among others, Rashid succeeds his compatriot Mohammad Shahzad as the Emerging Cricketer of the Year. Previous winners include Khurram Khan of UAE (2015), Preston Mommsen of Scotland (2014) and the Ireland all-rounder Kevin O’Brien (2013).