Full name Hazratullah Zazai
Born March 23, 1998, Paktia
Current age 22 years 18 days
Major teams Afghanistan, Afghanistan Under-19s, Amo Region, Band-e-Amir Dragons, Band-e-Amir Region, Dhaka Dynamites, Rajshahi Royals
Playing role Opening batsman
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox
|ODI debut||Ireland v Afghanistan at Belfast, Aug 27, 2018 scorecard|
|Last ODI||Afghanistan v West Indies at Lucknow, Nov 11, 2019 scorecard|
|T20I debut||United Arab Emirates v Afghanistan at Dubai (DSC), Dec 16, 2016 scorecard|
|Last T20I||Afghanistan v Ireland at Greater Noida, Mar 8, 2020 scorecard|
|First-class debut||Mis Ainak Region v Band-e-Amir Region at Kabul, Oct 20-23, 2017 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Kabul Region v Band-e-Amir Region at Kunar, Apr 22-25, 2018 scorecard|
|List A debut||Mis Ainak Region v Amo Region at Khost, Aug 10, 2017 scorecard|
|Last List A||Afghanistan v West Indies at Lucknow, Nov 11, 2019 scorecard|
|T20s debut||United Arab Emirates v Afghanistan at Dubai (DSC), Dec 16, 2016 scorecard|
|Last T20s||Afghanistan v Ireland at Greater Noida, Mar 8, 2020 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|28||Afghanistan||v Ireland||Greater Noida||8 Mar 2020||T20I # 1079|
|23||Afghanistan||v Ireland||Greater Noida||6 Mar 2020||T20I # 1077|
|1||Royals||v Tigers||Chattogram||17 Dec 2019||T20|
|0||Royals||v Thunder||Dhaka||13 Dec 2019||T20|
|56*||Royals||v Platoon||Dhaka||12 Dec 2019||T20|
|1||Arabians||v Qalandars||Abu Dhabi||23 Nov 2019||Other OD|
|14||Arabians||v Delhi Bulls||Abu Dhabi||21 Nov 2019||Other OD|
|0||Arabians||v Tuskers||Abu Dhabi||20 Nov 2019||Other OD|
|12||Arabians||v Abu Dhabi||Abu Dhabi||18 Nov 2019||Other OD|
|0||Afghanistan||v West Indies||Lucknow||17 Nov 2019||T20I # 1017|
Afghanistan's ascent up the global rankings from ICC Associate nation to Full Member and Test status has been largely propelled by a conveyor belt of fast bowling and mystery spin. But the country has struggled to unearth quality batting prospects at the same rate as their bowling unit. The emergence of the hard-hitting Hazratullah Zazai is a sign that this may change early in the country's Full Member era.
A tall, hulking presence at the crease, Zazai made waves as a 20-year-old by striking back-to-back half-centuries in just his second and third matches to ensure a T20I series sweep of Ireland. In the final match at Bready, he single-handedly outscored Ireland with his 82 off 54 balls, which included seven sixes.
If that wasn't enough to grab headlines, then hitting six sixes in an over less than two months later did the trick while batting for Kabul Zwanan against Balkh Legends in the inaugural season of the Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah. Having already bashed a 44-ball ton earlier in the tournament, Zazai's intimidation factor grew exponentially when he became the sixth batsman in competitive cricket, and third in T20s, to achieve the six sixes feat after carving up left-arm spinner Abdullah Mazari to put his name alongside Yuvraj Singh and Garry Sobers, among others, in the record books. Hidden in the euphoria of the six sixes was the fact that Zazai matched Yuvraj and Chris Gayle for the fastest fifty in all T20 cricket off 12 balls.
In February 2019, he belted an unbeaten 162 off 62 balls against Ireland in just his fifth T20I which included a record 16 sixes, one of many benchmarks set on the day both for himself and Afghanistan in a world record T20 total of 278. Time will tell if Zazai can make a similar impact in ODI and Test cricket for Afghanistan.
Peter Della Penna