Still in the early days of his cricketing career, Afghanistan all-rounder Rahmat Shah gave a demonstration of his potential with a historic ton against Bangladesh on Day One of the first Test on Thursday.
A right-handed batsman and a part-time leg-spinner, Rahmat became Afghanistan's first-ever Test centurion on Thursday, thereby joining an elite list of first-time Test centurions which includes India's Lala Amarnath and England's WG Grace among others.
First Test centurions for –
➔ Charles Bannerman
➔ Aminul Islam
➔ WG Grace
➔ Lala Amarnath
➔ Kevin O'Brien
➔ Stewie Dempster
➔ Nazar Mohammad
➔ Jimmy Sinclair
➔ Sidath Wettimuny
➔ Clifford Roach
➔ Dave Houghton
➔ RAHMAT SHAH pic.twitter.com/aeeA9L9M13
— ICC (@ICC) September 5, 2019
Introduction to international limelight
Being a right-handed batsman, Rahmat's List 'A' debut came as a 20-year-old in Afghanistan's practice match against Faisalabad and Rawalpindi in February 2013 where he scored 48 runs in a losing cause.
However, he did not have to wait long enough for his ODI debut as his moment arrived in Afghanistan's ICC World Cricket League Championship match against Scotland on 6 March.
Interestingly, this was even before he made his first-class debut. His first-class debut came in an ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture against Scotland on 12 March in Abu Dhabi, where he remained unbeaten on 67 in Afghanistan's only innings as they won by an innings and five runs.
Maiden ODI century
The start of Rahmat's ODI career so far has been a tough one. After having played seven ODIs between March 2013 and July 2014, lack of chances meant that he did not play a single 50-over international game for Afghanistan for two years. And then came a much-awaited opportunity, in another one-dayer against Scotland in a rain-marred match, where a lot happened despite the match eventually being abandoned.
It was in that match when he scored his first ODI century, besides being involved in a then record fifth wicket partnership with Najibullah Zadran, where the duo built a stand of 157 runs.
What followed after this were three more ODI tons — against Ireland, Zimbabwe and Scotland in a space of the next three years.
Helping Afghanistan qualify for ICC Cricket World Cup
Having had a decent show with the bat, Rahmat played a crucial part in Afghanistan's ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier in 2018, where they made the cut for the main tournament along with West Indies. He finished the tournament as Afghanistan's second-best run-getter, having scored 234 runs at an average of 33.42. He also scored three fifties.
Following this, he represented Mis Ainak Knights' in the 2018 Ghazi Amanullah Khan Regional One-Day Tournament. He ended up being the team's top run-scorer as well as their leading wicket-taker with 258 runs and eight dismissals in five matches.
Test debut and Rahmat's role in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Rahmat made his Test debut for Afghanistan in their inaugural Test against India in June 2018. Although it did not go well for either Afghanistan or Rahmat, he stepped up in their one-off Test against Ireland this year, where he scored 98 and 76 runs in the two innings. As a result, the Afghans won the contest by seven wickets.
In February earlier this year, he was named in Afghanistan's squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup in England, where they had a disappointing campaign, losing all their matches. However, despite this, he registered scores of 43, 46 and 62 against Australia, England and West Indies respectively.