Ahmad Quraishi, a ten-year-old Afghan boy from Nangarhar, has wowed the local cricket fraternity with his amazing bowling skills, which the national under 19’s team coach has likened to those of Rashid Khan.
Quraishi was born in 2009 to a poor family in Kama district in Nangarhar and started playing cricket on the streets three years ago.
Self-taught, Quraishi who is in Grade 6, now attends the cricket academy in Jalalabad city.
“My brother was playing at the Jalalabad cricket academy and many times I went to watch him,” Quraishi said, adding that “one day I asked my brother at the academy if I could bowl for him and he said yes. When I bowled his coach came and praised me.”
“The coach told my brother to take me with him the next day, but my brother did not do so. The coach asked him where I was because he had a jersey for me. When I went the next day he gave me the jersey and told me to play at the academy.”
A number of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) officials are full of praise for the young cricketer who they have likened to a young Rashid Khan.
Some however say Quraishi is in much better form that Rashid was at the same age.
For Quraishi, Rashid Khan is his hero.
“I love cricket and I love Rashid and he plays very well and his performance made me want to play,” the ten-year-old said, adding: “When I saw Rashid’s bowling, I also started to copy his technique.”
Raees Ahmadzai, Afghanistan’s U17 National Cricket Team’s coach praised Quraishi and said he believes the child has a good future playing cricket.
“In fact, I saw Quraishi’s bowling on social media one day and I was very happy that such as young boy bowls such a great leg-break and is so excited when he gets wickets.”
“It’s very good for ACB and the nation that there are such (young) boys in the country, that don’teven need coaches,” Ahmadzai said.
Quraishi has not yet played an official match for the ACB but played in a local competition and in an tournament in Kunar province.
The up-and-coming cricketer is the fifth son in his family. He also has two sisters. His second eldestbrother Abdullah Quraishi, who works for a construction company, is the only breadwinner in familyas his elderly father is unemployed.
The family live in Jalalabad city.
Rashid Khan is Afghanistan’s home-grown, googly master who at 20 years old just topped the ICC’sworld’s best ODI all-rounder chart.
Khan made his ODI debut on Afghanistan's tour of Zimbabwe in October 2015, at just 17 years of age.
A year and a half later, while back on tour in Zimbabwe, the leg-spinner fetched the highest ever bid for an Associate player in the IPL Auction. He was snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for$597,000.
Now Rashid has become a household name among cricket fans around the world and thousands of boys across the country hope to follow in his footsteps.