June 01, 1987, Nengrakar, Afghanistan
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
In June 2007, Hamid Hassan became the first Afghanistan cricketer ever to play at Lord's when he took 1 for 23, representing MCC against a select Europe XI. Little more than 6ft tall, with a smooth and athletic run-up, his fast arm surprises batsmen and he has a natural full-of-a-length delivery, swinging the ball both ways at pace. A reasonable tailender and with excellent hands in the outfield, Hassan - softly spoken yet fiercely ambitious - represents the talent which exists in Afghanistan.
The match at Lord's was a significant step for a bowler whose family fled the bombs of Jalalabad when he was six, and who subsequently learned the game in Peshawar where thousands of his countrymen sought refuge. His family, all of whom hated the game, did their best to encourage education but Hassan's determination - he played the game in secret for years - eventually won them over. He was first spotted when playing for Afghanistan in March 2006 in Mumbai when they defeated an MCC side led by Mike Gatting, where the then MCC president, Robin Marlar, noticed his potential, and was stunned to see him bowling in flat trainers. Hasan toured England with the national side in 2006, playing several matches against county second XIs, winning them all and was drafted onto MCC's groundstaff where he bowled against his hero, Andrew Flintoff, and was quick enough to smash Monty Panesar's helmet in the nets.
He ventured north to play for Norden CC in the Central Lancashire League the following year and represented Afghanistan in the 2009 World Cup Qualifiers, where his whippy action on a corrugated pitch earned him his first five-wicket haul, helping his side upset the tournament favourites Ireland. His once apathetic family celebrated back home by sacrificing a lamb and handing it around the small village to poor people.
Although Afghanistan missed out on World Cup qualification, they earned ODI status and at their next qualifying event - for the World Twenty20 - Hassan's incisive death bowling and 12 wickets played an important part in their qualification for the tournament in the West Indies. It appears the only thing that might be able to limit Hassan's ambition is the frailty of his own body. In 2012 a knee injury necessitated two operations, and he missed out on the World T20 qualifying final against Ireland in 2013. When he's fit, he completes Afghanistan's varied bowling attack, and his pace, reverse swing and yorkers make him Associate cricket's most lethal bowler.
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