Najibullah Zadran

Najibullah Zadran

Player Bio

Najibullah Zadran, born on February 28, 1993, in Kabul, Afghanistan, is a name that resonates with cricket enthusiasts, especially those who follow the Afghan cricket team. A left-handed batsman known for his aggressive style of play, Zadran has been a significant contributor to the Afghan cricket team's success in recent years. His ability to bowl right-arm off-break adds another dimension to his game, making him a versatile player on the field. Over the years, he has represented Afghanistan in various international tournaments and has been a part of many memorable moments in the country's cricketing history.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

Najibullah's journey into the world of cricket began at a young age. His passion for the sport was evident, and it didn't take long for him to make a mark in the domestic circuit. His talent was recognized early on when he represented Afghanistan Under-19s in the 2011 Under-19 World Cup Qualifier held in Ireland. This was a significant stepping stone for the young cricketer, as it provided him with the platform to showcase his skills against some of the best young talents in the world.

His performances in the Under-19 circuit caught the attention of the national selectors, and soon, he was making his debut in the T20 format. Najibullah made his T20 debut in the Faysal Bank T20 Cup, representing the Afghan Cheetahs against Rawalpindi Rams. In the same tournament, he showcased his batting prowess by scoring 58 runs in three appearances, with a notable high score of 51 not out against Rawalpindi Rams.

The year 2012 was a landmark year for Najibullah. He made his One Day International (ODI) debut against Ireland in July and soon after, in September, he played his first T20 International against India during the T20 World Cup. These initial years were crucial for Najibullah as they laid the foundation for his future in international cricket.

His journey wasn't always smooth. Like many athletes, he faced challenges and had to work hard to establish himself in the national team. Despite facing setbacks, such as not being able to convert starts into big scores initially, Najibullah's dedication and commitment to the game were unwavering. His consistent performances in domestic cricket and his ability to bounce back stronger after every setback made him an indispensable part of the Afghan cricket team.

Rise in International Cricket

Najibullah Zadran's ascent in international cricket is a tale of perseverance, talent, and unwavering commitment to the sport. After making his mark in the Under-19 World Cup Qualifier and the domestic circuit, he was poised to take on the international arena.

His One Day International (ODI) journey began against Ireland in Dublin in 2012. Although his debut might have been seen as premature by some, his batting underwent a significant transformation by 2014, making him look more at ease on the international stage. A pivotal moment in his early career was in July of that year when his second-innings score of 99 helped Afghanistan secure a victory against a formidable Zimbabwe A side in an unofficial Test. Later in November, his unbeaten 60 off just 32 balls was instrumental in Afghanistan's 54-run triumph over Pakistan A in a T20 match.

The year 2015 was particularly noteworthy for Najibullah. He started the year with a bang, scoring his maiden ODI fifty against Ireland. This impressive performance ensured his place in Afghanistan's squad for the World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. Although he couldn't replicate his domestic form consistently during the World Cup, scoring 123 runs in 6 matches, his potential was evident.

However, like many cricketers, Najibullah faced the challenge of inconsistency. Despite showing sparks of brilliance, he often failed to convert starts into substantial scores. This led to a brief hiatus from the national side. But true to his character, he didn't let this setback deter him. He returned to First-Class cricket, refining his skills and technique. His hard work paid off in 2016 when he played a blistering innings of 60 runs off just 35 balls against the UAE. This performance not only helped Afghanistan qualify for the main draw of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh but also marked his strong comeback to the national side.

From this point, there was no looking back for Najibullah. He solidified his position as one of the mainstays of Afghanistan's batting lineup. Recognizing his leadership qualities and experience, he was appointed the captain of Afghanistan A for a tri-series in 2017, which included teams like India and South Africa. Under his leadership, he scored a couple of fifties, further cementing his place in the team.

His prowess in the shorter format of the game didn't go unnoticed in the franchise cricket world. In 2017, he was picked by the Chittagong Vikings for the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). His performances in the BPL showcased his ability to adapt to different conditions and play against some of the best bowlers in the world.

In an interview in 2022, Najibullah expressed his belief that had he been backed for a top-order position earlier in his career, he could have easily played in leagues like the IPL. This statement not only reflects his confidence but also his ambition to constantly challenge himself and play at the highest levels of the game.

Najibullah had played 90 ODIs, scoring 2053 runs with an average of 29.75 and a strike rate of 89.61. His highest score in ODIs is an impressive 104 not out. In the T20I format, he played 94 matches, amassing 1712 runs with an average of 31.13 and a strike rate of 139.76.

Major Milestones and Records

Najibullah Zadran's cricketing journey is adorned with numerous milestones and records that stand as a testament to his prowess on the field. His achievements are not just a reflection of his individual brilliance but also his contribution to the rise of Afghanistan as a formidable cricketing nation.

One of the significant milestones in Najibullah's career was his maiden ODI century, which he achieved in March 2019. This century not only showcased his batting skills but also highlighted his ability to anchor the innings and play the role of a finisher for his team. His unbeaten century powered Afghanistan to a competitive total, underlining his importance in the middle order.

Another noteworthy achievement was his inclusion in the Afghanistan squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 held in Australia and New Zealand. Although he managed to score a modest 123 runs in 6 matches at an average of 24.60 during the World Cup, his selection for such a prestigious tournament at a relatively young age was a clear indication of the trust the team management had in his abilities.

Najibullah's T20 credentials are also impressive. He made his T20 debut against India in the T20 World Cup in September 2012. Over the years, he has been a consistent performer in this format, with a strike rate of 139.76 in T20Is, showcasing his ability to accelerate the innings when required. His highest score in T20Is is 73, and he has hit 91 fours and 42 sixes, reflecting his aggressive style of play.

His performances in domestic and international cricket caught the attention of franchise cricket teams. In 2017, he was signed by the Chittagong Vikings for the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). His stint in the BPL was a testament to his adaptability, as he showcased his skills against some of the best bowlers in the world.

In addition to his batting milestones, Najibullah has also made significant contributions with the ball. Although not a regular bowler, he has occasionally rolled his arm over, delivering right-arm off-breaks. His best bowling figures in ODIs are 1/12, showcasing his utility as a part-time bowler.

One of the records that stand out in Najibullah's career is his consistent appearances for the national team. He has played 77 consecutive T20 International matches for Afghanistan, which is the third-highest for any player representing a team. This record is a testament to his fitness levels and his importance in the team's plans.

Another record that Najibullah holds is his partnership for the fifth wicket in T20Is. He was involved in a 107-run partnership, which is the seventh-highest for this wicket in T20 International cricket.

Current Status and Contributions to Afghan Cricket

Najibullah Zadran, born on 28th February 1993 in Kabul, Afghanistan, has emerged as a cornerstone of Afghan cricket. His bellicose left-hand batting style, combined with his ability to bowl right-arm off-breaks, has made him a versatile asset to the national team. As of 2023, Najibullah has been representing Afghanistan in international cricket for over a decade, having made his debut in 2012.

His journey in the international arena began with his ODI debut against Ireland in Dublin in 2012. Since then, he has been a consistent performer for Afghanistan, amassing over 2000 runs in ODIs and over 1700 runs in T20Is. His batting average in ODIs stands at an impressive 30.04, while in T20Is, it's 31.70. These numbers reflect his ability to play long innings and contribute significantly to the team's total.

Beyond his individual achievements, Najibullah's contributions to Afghan cricket are manifold. He has been a part of some of the most crucial moments in Afghanistan's cricketing history. For instance, in March 2019, he scored his maiden ODI century against Ireland, a testament to his growth as a cricketer. In the same year, he was named in Afghanistan's 15-man squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, further solidifying his position as a key player.

Najibullah's influence isn't limited to the international stage. He has also made significant contributions in various T20 leagues around the world. From playing for the Montreal Tigers in the Global T20 Canada tournament to representing teams like the Khulna Tigers in the Bangladesh Premier League and the St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, his presence in these leagues has not only enhanced his skills but also brought attention to Afghan cricket.

In recent times, Najibullah has taken on leadership roles, reflecting his maturity and understanding of the game. In July 2021, he was named as the vice-captain of Afghanistan's T20I team. This responsibility showcases the trust and confidence the team management has in him.

Najibullah Zadran's journey in cricket mirrors the rise of Afghanistan as a cricketing nation. From his early days to his current status as the vice-captain of the T20I side, he has consistently showcased his talent, determination, and commitment to the sport. His contributions, both on and off the field, have played a pivotal role in shaping the future of Afghan cricket. As he continues to represent Afghanistan on the global stage, fans and cricket enthusiasts can look forward to many more memorable performances from this stalwart.

When did Najibullah Zadran make his international debut for Afghanistan?
Najibullah made his international debut for Afghanistan in July 2012.
What is Najibullah Zadran's batting style?
He is a left-handed batsman.
Has Najibullah Zadran played in any T20 leagues outside Afghanistan?
Yes, he has played in leagues like the Global T20 Canada, Bangladesh Premier League, and Caribbean Premier League, among others.
When was Najibullah Zadran named the vice-captain of Afghanistan's T20I team?
He was named the vice-captain in July 2021.
How many runs has Najibullah scored in ODIs and T20Is till 2023?
He has scored over 2000 runs in ODIs and over 1700 runs in T20Is.