Australian cricket fans got their first glimpse of 15-year-old phenom Noor Ahmad during Saturday afternoon’s fixture between the Melbourne Renegades and the Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena.
But Renegades wicketkeeper Sam Harper has predicted the Afghan teenager could become a dangerous weapon when he plays under lights in the Big Bash League.
Ahmad claimed 1/27 during an impressive four-over spell in Hobart, removing Hurricanes skipper Peter Handscomb for his maiden BBL scalp.
But it wasn’t enough to prevent a Renegades loss, with the hosts chasing the 158-run target with 14 balls to spare.
At 15 years and 351 days, Ahmad is comfortably the youngest cricketer to feature in the T20 tournament. The previous youngest was Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who debuted for the Brisbane Heat at 17 years and 266 days.
Renegades teammates Shaun Marsh was already five years into his professional career at the time of Ahmad’s birth in 2005.
Speaking to reporters after the defeat, Harper compared the young spin bowler to Adelaide Strikers superstar Rashid Khan, who is renowned for performing at his best during evening fixtures.
“I had a keep to (Ahmad) yesterday for half an hour to try and pick him,” Harper said.
“I think it’ll be interesting once we start playing at night and getting under the lights. Chatting to people about Rashid, they’ve found him easier during the day, so hopefully for us, that’s the case (with Ahmad).
“I felt like I could pick him pretty well today, but I could see the seam, so that’s where the challenge of keeping in the night-time and then batting to him in the night-time comes in.
“Any time you can get your hands on a mystery spinner who spins the ball both ways, I’ll take that. It doesn’t matter how much English he’s got.”
Ahmad was potentially robbed of a second wicket after he trapped South African international Colin Ingram on the pads in the eighth over.
Unfortunately, the on-field umpire opted not to raise the finger, and Hawkeye replays suggested the ball would have crashed into leg stump.
Ahmad has played 16 T20 games since his professional debut in October 2019, claiming 20 wickets at 21.70.
For their next fixture, the Renegades will face the Sydney Thunder at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Boxing Day.