Like many of the world’s leading sports, cricket was invented in England. The most popular league – the Indian Premier League (IPL) – is, as the name suggests, in India. And Australia is arguably the most successful nation on Earth at the sport, with the highest number of ICC cricket tournament victories to their name.
But what about the other nations, which are less celebrated in the world of cricket? Here, we profile three of the best players outside of the crickets traditionally ‘elite’ nations.
Rashid Khan, Afghanistan:
Speed. If there’s one word we’d use to sum up Rashid Kahn, it’s speed. And not just because he’s light on his feet, either. The speed we’re referring to is the short timeframe Khan required to shatter a series of records. At the age of 19, the young Afghan became the youngest ever player to reach the top of the ICC Player Rankings for bowlers in ODIs. That’s quite an achievement.
But Khan wasn’t finished with the record books. After just 44 matches, he reached 100 ODI wickets – the fastest cricket player to do so. Now 21, he’s the vice-captain of the national cricket team and featured in Afghanistan’s first-ever Test match. Not only that, but he made the step up to act as captain for a game against Bangladesh in September 2019, becoming the youngest player to do so.
Just another record was broken by Khan, then.
Shimron Hetmyer, West Indies:
The first thing that jumps out at you when you think about ShimronHetmyer is his striking image. The gold chain round his neck, complete with golden cricket bat. His crisp, white sunhat which would have fit in with the style just as much five or six decades ago. And even his confident swagger on the pitch. It’s all part of Hetmyer’s iconic image.
But to only think about his image would be doing Hetmyer a huge disservice. This is a cricketer with real talent. He already tasted glory with the West Indies Under-19s when they captured the 2015-16 World Cup. Hetmyer certainly had a big input in their victory, racking up 50s in both the quarter- and semi-finals.
Fast forward a few years and Hetymer made the inevitable step up to the IPL after a series of pulsating performances in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where he became the youngest player to score a century. Ferociously powerful attacking strikes – coupled with consistency – have seen Hetymer emerge as a special player in the IPL who will no doubt capture headlines for years to come.
Mehedi Hasan, Bangladesh:
He might only be 22, but Mehedi Hasan has already made a big impact on the Bangladeshi national team. This was cemented when the right-arm off break bowler helped take on the West Indies in November 2018 in a Test match, recording the best match figures ever for a Bangladeshi player, ripping up plenty of Test Cricket prediction in the process and pushing most cricket betting odds down. Impressive stuff.
Things could have been very different for Hasan. In March 2019, he was about to enter the Al Noor mosque just before it was targeted in a major terror attack. Sadly, 51 people were killed and a further 49 injured. Fortunately for Hasan and the rest of the Bangladeshi team, they were made aware of the attack and managed to avoid heading into a potentially fatal situation.
Hasan currently plys his trade for Khulna Tigers in the Bangladeshi Premier League (BPL), where fans are beginning to take note of his bowling abilities and hoping he can continue to build on an impressive start to his career.