RAHMANULLAH GURBAZ: AFGHAN CRICKET'S KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR | TATA IPL 2023
On Saturday, the Eden was treated to a special innings with the bat by Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The Afghani batting sensation who replaced Jason Roy in the matchday squad ensured the Englishman wasn’t missed on the day with a career best 81(39) which left the cricket fraternity in awe of the opener’s prowess with the bat. Gurbaz’s special innings that featured 5 boundaries and 7 maximums, is also the highest score by a Afghani cricketer in the IPL.
A key member of the Afghani national team, Gurbaz was born on 28th November, 2001 in war torn Afghanistan. His father, a high school principal, wanted him to focus on his education as a means to progress in life. Gurbaz’s passion however was always sports despite being a pretty good student as well. He initially wanted to be a footballer, but when he saw former cricketers Nawroz Mangal and Noor Ali Zardan get a hero’s welcome when they visited his village, he wanted the same for himself. Since he didn’t find much support from his family back then, Gurbaz, under disguise, took up labour work at the construction site of a building his own family was building to purchase a cricket kit. He worked close to 3 weeks on the site to purchase his professional kit before his elder brother Saadat found out! His friend Qadir Gurbaz helped him put in the hard yards at local tennis ball tournaments to pursue his dreams. Seniors in his village were impressed with his game and recommended him to train at a local club. When he got selected to represent the Khost Provincial team, Gurbaz didn’t have a professional kit. His brother Saadat took a loan to give him one and the rest as they say is history. The youngster went from strength to strength from this point on and never looked back.
Gurbaz who idolises AB De Villiers, is known for his fearless approach to batting and love for hitting sixes. He has established himself as one of the most dangerous opening batsmen in the game in a very short period of time. Having represented various franchises like Khulna Tigers, Barbados Royals, Multan Sultans, Islamabad United, Jaffna Kings and Gujarat Titans before being traded into the Knights setup in 2023, young Gurbaz has also built quite a reputation for himself at such a young age. The wicketkeeper batsman has scored 3287 runs in the 140 T20Is he has featured in so far with a SR of 150. He also holds the distinction of being the first Afghani cricketer to score a century on ODI debut.
The youngster announced himself in this years IPL with a glorious 57 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in only his 2nd game earlier in the season. Having now scored a fabulous knock against his former team, Gurbaz has come good on the trust and faith reposed in him by the Knights think tank. The youngster will be hoping to make the most of the opportunities in the coming weeks to continue his dream debut season and help the Knights finish amidst the playoff spots.