Mohammad Nabi and Afghanistan complete a special 100
When Afghanistan took the field against Ireland in the second ODI of their ongoing series, they marked a momentous occasion- the milestone of a 100 ODIs. With 52 wins in a hundred matches, they set themselves for exciting times ahead.
Having made their ODI debut in 2009 against Scotland, the rise of Afghanistan as a cricketing nation has been one of the most beautiful stories of the last decade. And while many people have played instrumental roles in helping the war-torn nation smile because of cricketing glory, few have been as important and as impactful as Mohammad Nabi.
The 33-year-old Afghan has set a record by becoming the first cricketer to have featured in his nation’s first 100 ODIs.
In fact, Nabi has set the bar very high as far as the record goes since the next person to feature on this list is Steve Tikolo; the former Kenyan captain having featured in the first 49 ODIs that Kenya played.
Dave Houghton (42 matches for Zimbabwe), Kepler Wessels (39 matches for South Africa) and Irving Romaine (35 matches for Bermuda) are the next ones to follow on this list.
The right-handed all-rounder who has scored 2315 ODI runs at an average of 28.58 has also become only the second cricketer after former Zimbabwean Andy Flower to feature in 100 consecutive ODI’s after making his debut. Flower went on to represent his country in 172 consecutive matches since his maiden ODI.
Nabi is a more than handy right arm off spinner and has 107 ODI wickets against his name, the first from his country to bag 100 international wickets.
It came as no surprise that T20 franchises across the globe looked to avail his services for the utility and balance he lends to a side. Consequently, he also became the first Afghan to be bought by an IPL franchise when the Sunrisers Hyderabad included him in their squad for the 2017 season.
Nabi also got the honour of leading his country in international cricket when he was chosen to be captain of the side in 2013. Leading the side in its formative years, Nabi had a good return as he won 13 and lost 15 of the 28 ODI matches to go along with 6 victories and as many losses in T20I's. His memorable triumph as captain remains Afghanistan's 2014 Asia Cup win over Bangladesh-their first against a Test-playing nation.
From playing cricket in refugee camps as a 10-year-old to going on to represent and lead his nation in international cricket, Nabi has seen it all. He has been an integral part of all the heights that Afghanistan cricket has scaled in the last decade, from playing international cricket to achieving Test status. Indeed a fairy tale ride for a nation striving to fight war and conflict.
And as Afghanistan enter into an even more exciting age as a cricket nation, they need more people like Nabi to raise their hands and act as torchbearers for the future generations.