Hashmatullah Shahidi, a name that resonates with dedication and perseverance in the world of cricket, especially for Afghanistan. Born on November 4, 1994, in Logar, Shahidi has carved a niche for himself as one of Afghanistan's most reliable top-order batsmen. His journey in the sport is a testament to his unwavering commitment and passion for the game.
From a young age, Shahidi showcased an innate talent for cricket. His journey began in Afghanistan's age group teams, where his consistent performances and hard work caught the eyes of selectors and cricket enthusiasts alike. His dedication to the sport was evident when he represented Afghanistan in the Under-17 side. This was just the beginning of his illustrious journey.
In 2010, Shahidi was selected for Afghanistan's squad for the Under-19 World Cup held in New Zealand. This platform provided him with an opportunity to showcase his skills against some of the best young talents in the world. His performance was commendable, and it was clear that Afghanistan had found a gem in Shahidi.
Four years later, in another testament to his growth as a cricketer, Shahidi was part of the Under-19 team that achieved remarkable victories against cricketing giants Australia and Sri Lanka. These achievements did not go unnoticed. Recognizing his potential and the solidity he brought to the batting lineup, Shahidi was rewarded with a spot in the squad for Afghanistan's first full tour of Zimbabwe.
Shahidi's batting style is a blend of grace and tenacity. He is a left-handed batsman known for his impeccable cover drives, a shot he cherishes. His admiration for the legendary Kumar Sangakkara is evident in his approach to the game, drawing inspiration from the Sri Lankan maestro's elegance and technique.
Over the years, Shahidi has become Afghanistan's anchor in the batting lineup. While he is often surrounded by more aggressive players like Mohammad Shahzad, Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, and Najibullah Zadran, Shahidi's role is pivotal. He provides the stability around which the other batsmen can play their natural game. Although his strike rate has occasionally been a topic of discussion, his ability to lay a solid foundation for the team is undeniable. If Shahidi holds one end up, it often paves the way for Afghanistan to post competitive totals, surprising many stronger teams in the process.
Hashmatullah Shahidi's ascent in international cricket is a tale of grit, determination, and sheer talent. His journey began with his One Day International (ODI) debut for Afghanistan against Kenya in October 2013. This marked the beginning of a promising career that would see Shahidi become one of Afghanistan's most dependable batsmen.
A significant milestone in Shahidi's career came in June 2018 when he was part of the historic eleven that represented Afghanistan in its first-ever Test match against India. This was not just a personal achievement for Shahidi but a monumental moment for Afghan cricket as a whole. In this match, although Afghanistan faced a formidable Indian side, Shahidi showcased his resilience by top-scoring in the second innings with an unbeaten 36, even though it was in a losing cause.
His ability to anchor the innings and provide stability to the Afghan batting lineup was further highlighted in Afghanistan's Test match against Zimbabwe in March 2021. Shahidi etched his name in the annals of cricket history by becoming the first Afghan player to score a Test double century. His unbeaten knock of 200 was instrumental in Afghanistan's dominant first innings total of 545 for 4 declared. This achievement not only solidified his position in the team but also showcased Afghanistan's growing prowess in the longer format of the game.
Shahidi's career is adorned with several milestones and records that bear testimony to his skill and dedication. In the realm of Test cricket, he has played 6 matches, amassing 375 runs at an impressive average of 53.57, with a top score of 200*. This double century against Zimbabwe stands out as a testament to his ability to play long innings and dominate bowling attacks.
In the 50-over format, Shahidi has represented Afghanistan in 62 ODIs, scoring 1,665 runs at an average of 31.41. His highest score in this format is a commendable 97. While he hasn't reached the three-figure mark in ODIs yet, he has consistently provided stability to the middle order with 15 half-centuries to his name.
Another noteworthy achievement came during the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 18 June 2019, in a match against England, Shahidi reached the milestone of 1,000 runs in ODIs, further establishing his importance in the Afghan batting lineup.
In addition to his batting prowess, Shahidi has also contributed with the ball. In ODIs, he has taken 14 wickets, with his best bowling figures being 2/33.
Shahidi's journey in international cricket is a reflection of his unwavering commitment to the sport and his nation. From making his debut in 2013 to achieving significant milestones and records, he has been a beacon of consistency and determination for Afghanistan.
Every cricketer's journey is punctuated with highs and lows, and Hashmatullah Shahidi's story is no exception. Hailing from Afghanistan, a nation that has faced its share of turmoil, Shahidi's rise in the cricketing world is symbolic of the challenges and triumphs he and his teammates have encountered.
One of the most significant challenges Shahidi faced was during the 2019 Cricket World Cup. In a match against England, he was struck on the helmet by a bouncer from Mark Wood. Despite the blow, Shahidi displayed immense courage and determination by continuing to bat, showcasing his commitment to his team and country. This incident not only highlighted the physical challenges cricketers often face but also underscored Shahidi's resilience and dedication.
Another challenge for Shahidi, as for many Afghan cricketers, has been adapting to the different formats of the game. While he has showcased his prowess in the longer format, especially with his double century against Zimbabwe, adapting to the fast-paced nature of T20 cricket has been a learning curve. However, with time and experience, Shahidi has shown growth in this format as well, proving his versatility as a cricketer.
On the triumph front, Shahidi's journey is replete with moments of glory. His double century against Zimbabwe stands out as a monumental achievement, not just for him but for Afghan cricket. This innings showcased Afghanistan's capability to compete and excel in the longer format of the game. Another significant triumph was being part of the historic eleven that represented Afghanistan in its first-ever Test match against India. While the team faced a formidable opponent, the very fact that Afghanistan was playing Test cricket was a victory in itself.
Shahidi's consistent performances in ODIs, where he reached the milestone of 1,000 runs during the 2019 World Cup, further highlight his contributions to Afghan cricket's successes. His role as an anchor in the batting lineup, providing stability amidst aggressive players, has been pivotal in many of Afghanistan's triumphs on the cricket field.
Hashmatullah Shahidi stands as one of the pillars of Afghan cricket. His consistent performances across formats have solidified his position as a top-order batsman for the national team. Notably, Shahidi's role isn't just limited to his on-field contributions. He currently shoulders the responsibility of leading the Afghanistan national cricket team in One Day International and Test cricket. This captaincy role is a testament to his leadership qualities, cricketing acumen, and the trust the cricketing fraternity has in him.
Under Shahidi's leadership, the Afghanistan cricket team has shown promise and potential. His captaincy style is a blend of aggression and strategy, often leading from the front with his performances. As a leader, Shahidi emphasises teamwork, unity, and playing to one's strengths. His vision for Afghan cricket is clear – to establish Afghanistan as a force to reckon with in the cricketing world.
Furthermore, Shahidi's current status in the cricket world isn't just limited to his contributions to the Afghan team. He is also recognized and respected in cricketing circles globally. His technique, especially in the longer format, has been praised by cricket pundits, and his calm demeanour on the field sets him apart.
In the domestic circuit, Shahidi continues to be an integral part of teams like the Amo Region and the Band-e-Amir Region. His performances in domestic tournaments have consistently showcased his talent, making him a sought-after player in various leagues.
Hashmatullah Shahidi's journey in the world of cricket is a testament to perseverance, dedication, and immense talent. From his early days in Afghanistan's age group teams to leading the national side, Shahidi has consistently showcased his prowess on the field. His ability to adapt, learn, and grow has not only made him one of Afghanistan's most reliable batsmen but also a beacon of hope for many aspiring cricketers in the country. As he continues to carve out his legacy, Shahidi's impact on Afghan cricket is undeniable. His story serves as a reminder that with passion, hard work, and determination, one can overcome challenges and achieve greatness.
When did Hashmatullah Shahidi make his ODI debut for Afghanistan?
Shahidi made his ODI debut for Afghanistan against Kenya on 2 October 2013.
What significant milestone did Shahidi achieve against Zimbabwe in March 2021?
In March 2021, Shahidi became the first Afghan player to score a Test double century, with an unbeaten knock of 200 against Zimbabwe.
What role does Shahidi play in the Afghanistan cricket team?
Shahidi is a top-order batsman and currently serves as the captain of the Afghanistan national cricket team in One Day International and Test cricket.
Has Shahidi played in any World Cup tournaments?
Yes, Shahidi was part of Afghanistan's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
What is Shahidi's highest score in ODIs?
Shahidi's highest score in ODIs is 97.