Hazratullah Zazai – The six-obsessed opener out to change Afghanistan spinners’ hegemony

Hazratullah Zazai wants to be the first Afghanistan centurion at the World Cup, and the first double centurion for his country in the format – all while peeling off sixes at willHazratullah Zazai wants to be the first Afghanistan centurion at the World Cup, and the first double centurion for his country in the format – all while peeling off sixes at will ©AFP
Hazratullah Zazai doesn’t like being contained, during a match, at practice or otherwise. He is exasperated at having to train indoors during this period of incessant rainfall in the UK. “Indoor nets is just for knocking or working on your weak zone. It’s not of much use otherwise,” he remarks, when you meet into him after his session at the Cardiff training centre. Then he elaborates. “Batting in the indoor nets, you can’t see how big your six is. It just hits the net and drops right there. But what can I do, there’s so much rain outside.”
Zazai is doing his bit to live up to his “Afghan Gayle” billing. He Instagrams pictures of himself with quotes like “I may not be perfect, but at least I’m not fake” and launches Matt Henry on to the roof of the Taunton pavilion. At 21 years of age, the World Cup is a great experience. He is confident, carefree and eager to change the spinners’ hegemony around Afghanistan cricket. “We need fast bowlers and fast-scoring batsmen also. Everybody that comes to the academy in Afghanistan only wants to become the next Mujeeb or the next Rashid. “ he says in an exclusive chat with Cricbuzz.
Incidentally, Rashid Khan was his roommate in Dehradun during the T20I series against Ireland in February this year. The night before the second T20I, the spinner ribbed the opener about his measly score of 11 in the first game. In the previous series between the two sides in Bready, Zazai had belted scores of 74 and 82 and turned into an Ireland tormentor, of sorts.Zazai responded to the banter by asking Rashid to prepare a Tweet “Wow! Zazai 100+”. He went out the next day and backed his dramatic words by smashing 16 sixes in a 62-ball unbeaten 162 – the second-highest individual score in T20I history after Aaron Finch.
Rashid lived up to his end of the bargain with a tweet, while a sweeter gesture came from the Australian captain and record holder himself.
“During the match, no one told me I was so close to the [Finch’s] record. I got no clue. Rashid only informed me when I came back to the dressing room.