Teenager Ikram Alikhil has set his sights on becoming Afghanistan’s greatest-ever player after breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the highest score by an 18-year-old at a World Cup.
The wicket-keeper’s 86 against the West Indies at Headingley on Thursday saw him move ahead of Tendulkar’s best of 84, which came 27 years ago.
“I’m very proud to have broken the record of a legend like Tendulkar. It makes me very happy,” he said.
Ikram’s knock came in a losing cause as Afghanistan fell to a 23-run defeat in an entertaining encounter at Headingley and head home after nine straight defeats.
“I’m very happy that I scored 86 runs, which was the top score for Afghanistan (at this World Cup),” said Ikram, who was part of the team that reached the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup 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.
“I want to work very hard at my game and become the best-ever player produced by Afghanistan.”
Ikram, who said playing at the World Cup in England and Wales had boosted his confidence, models himself on legendary Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara.
“Kumar Sangakkara is always in mind and my thoughts when I am batting out there,” he said.
“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.”
After Afghanistan’s regular wicket keeper was sent home, Ikram AliKhil, at just 18 years of age became the 41st teenage World Cup cricketer.
AFP with additional input from GVS News desk