DateLine: 22nd February 2007
A dashing youngster with attacking instincts is an asset and so Aftab Ahmed's entry in the Bangladesh team has been doubly welcomed. He believes that the ball is there to be hit hard and high symbolized by a strike rate of 81 in ODIs which is pretty good going for a weak side. He first caught the eye of the selectors after scoring 79 against South Africa in the under-19 World Cup in 2002. His game seemed tailor made for ODIs and it came as a bit of a surprise when he was included in the Test squad in England in 2005. But he ended up heading the averages with 140 runs at 46.66 with a typically carefree unbeaten 82 at Chester-le-Street. For a team that was beaten in both Tests by an innings and plenty and with two days to spare his was a commendable performance. A few weeks later he was providing the finishing touches to the historic one day win over Australia at Cardiff by smashing Jason Gillespie for a six off the first ball of the final over to seal the victory. He can be pretty effective with his medium pacers too as he underlined by his haul of five for 31 against New Zealand in November 2004. With an unbeaten 81 in the decider he spearheaded Bangladesh to a 3-2 series victory over Zimbabwe in January 2005. Aftab turns 21 in November and is certainly one with a bright future.
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