Xtra Time Web Desk: 18-year-old Noor Ahmad Lakanwal is the new spin sensation from Afghanistan. The youngster is already touted as the next big thing in Afghanistan cricket. Young Noor is hailed as the left-arm spin version of Rashid Khan. The comparison of Nour with his mentor Rashid is unavoidable as both took the world by storm at a young age.
Hailing from Lakhan district in Khost in south-east Afghanistan, Noor has already made a mark in T20 leagues around the world, having plied his trade with Melbourne Renegades in BBL, St Lucia Zouks in CPL, Quetta Gladiators in PSL, Galle Gladiators in Sri Lanka Premier League and Gujarat Titans in ongoing IPL 2023 season.
Ever since Noor got his first opportunity to play as an impact substitute for Gujarat Titans against Rajasthan Royals, he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. A string of consistent performances has convinced the GT team management to include Noor alongside Rashid in the playing XI. Noor’s scalps so far in the season includes some big names like, Cameron Green, Tim David, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Nicolas Pooran, Krunal Pandya, Ramanullah Gurbaz and Rinku Singh.
Coming from a humble background Noor is one of the eight siblings. He was good in studies, having secured top marks in mathematics in class X standard. Like most Afghans growing up, Noor started playing tape-ball cricket. It was during that time Rashid Khan made rapid strides in international cricket. Noor started idolising Rashid. In 2018 during a selection trial in Kabul, Noor was first spotted by former Afghanistan batter Raees Ahmadzai. He was soon drafted in Afghanistan U19 squad that played in the U19 World Cup.
Former India of spinner Ashish Kapoor played a huge part in getting Noor at Gujarat Titans. Ashish, during his tenure as a junior selector from 2018 to 2021, crossed paths with Afghan left-amp spinner several times. Impressed with the wrist spinner, Ashish worked with him closely throughout the last season. During the off-season last year, when Kapoor was the head coach of Bahrain, he was constantly in touch with Noor. The former India spinner will be one of the happiest persons to see Noor do well.
Can Noor Ahmed replicate the success of his mentor Rashid and take Afghanistan cricket to greater heights, only time will say.