The Melbourne Renegades are preparing to unleash 15-year-old Afghan spinner Ahmad Noor on the Big Bash after a 12-month scouting mission paid off.
Noor, who was born in 2005 in Kabul, Afghanistan, has signed on for the full season and is likely to play as many games as the new BBL fixture allows before Christmas when South African Imran Tahir will also join the squad.
The left-arm “mystery spinner” has played just one first-class match and 15 T20s in his native Afghanistan as well as representing his country as a 14-year-old in last year’s Under 19 World Cup.
Noor, a wrist-spinner, has been on the radar of the Renegades for more than a year, and he will arrive in time to take his place in the season opener, which is set to be delayed at least a week from the original start date of December 3.
“Noor is someone we have kept tabs on for over a year,” Renegades coach Michael Klinger said.
“He’s someone who not many people have seen, which I think is a huge advantage to us, and he’s a player coming out on a mission to really put his name up in front of the world.
“He spins the ball both ways … we are really excited to have him.”
Noor will follow in the footsteps of fellow Afghan spin wizard Rashid Khan, the number one ranked T20 bowler in the world.
His countryman Mohammad Nabi, who will again play with the Renegades this season, said the teenager was “exciting”.
“The Renegades fans and followers of the Big Bash may not know much about Noor at this stage, but I can tell you, he is a very exciting talent who I feel has a big future in the game,” Nabi said.
Social media went in to meltdown last year when Noor was involved in a mankad incident at the Under 19 World Cup against Pakistan when he ran out opener Mohammad Huraira.
After the match, Noor’s Afghanistan captain Farhan Zakhil conceded it was not “in the spirit of the game”.
Tahir, who took 236 wickets in 145 ODI and T20 games for South Africa, will be available for the Renegades from Boxing Day.
The spinning pair will fill two import slots for the Melbourne team, with a decision still to come on a third overseas player to be paid for by Cricket Australia as a marquee signing.
Tahir is playing with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and was the competition’s leading wicket taker last year.
“I’ve watched the Big Bash from afar have admired how competitive it is,” Tahir said.
“I’m looking forward to joining my new Renegades teammates and working hard with them to produce a successful season.”