World Cup 2019: Afghan keeper-batsman Ikram Ali Khil is happy to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record

World Cup 2019: Afghan keeper-batsman Ikram Ali Khil is happy to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record

Ikram scored a memorable fifty in Afghanistan's last game but the team couldn't get past Windies.

Ikram Ali Khil
Ikram Ali Khil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The ouster of the experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad in the middle of the World Cup had brought in negative sentiment in the Afghanistan camp but now they could well return home with an assured mind. For they have a teenage keeper-batsman to take care of the responsibility for years to come. 18-year-old Ikram Ali Khil, who replaced Shahzad, slammed 86 off 93 balls against the West Indies in their final league game to end the tournament on a high.

Although Ikram’s knock could not win Afghans their first match in the tournament, yet he made a memorable record and it was about breaking the highest score in the showpiece even by a teenager. Previously, the record was held by Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar who had hit 84 off 107 balls against New Zealand in Dunedin in the 1992 edition. However, just like Tendulkar’s knock 27 years ago could not give India a win, Afghanistan fell short of the Windies’ total of 311 runs by 23 runs.

Ikram, who has played one Test and nine ODIs since making debut against Ireland in March this year, is happy to have broken the record of a legend. However, the southpaw idolises former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara and tries to imitate him whenever he goes out to the middle with the bat.

“Kumar Sangakkara is always in mind and my thoughts when I am batting out there,” Ikram, who is yet to meet Sangakkara, was quoted as saying in the post-match conference. “His ability to rotate strike and find a boundary when needed, that is what made him a world class batsman. That is what I try to copy as much as I can.”

Ikram proud and happy to have broken Tendulkar record

Speaking about bettering Tendulkar’s record, Ikram said he was proud as well as happy to have achieved the feat. His 86 is also the highest individual score by an Afghan in this World Cup. Ikram has experience in playing in a big tournament like the World Cup as he was part of the Afghanistan U-19 team that had played in the junior World Cup in New Zealand last year.

“No one had crossed that mark in the nine games but I’m disappointed at the same time because I thought I could score a hundred. Hopefully in the games ahead I will score a hundred for Afghanistan.”

Also read – Lasith Malinga gives his inputs on whether MS Dhoni should continue playing after World Cup

Afghanistan are the first team in the history of the World Cup to have lost nine games in a row, worsening the previous record held by Zimbabwe who had lost seven consecutive matches in 1992. They had come close to win against teams like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Windies but could not hit the final nails.