One of the most entertaining batsmen in the Associate cricket world, and one who never shies away from theatrically celebrating even the most mundane milestones, Mohammad Shahzad is a throwback player to a time when a bulging waistline would be excused by most coaches and selectors as long as it coincided with a bulging runs column on the scoresheet. Shahzad has proven his worth time and again with a series of thrilling batting displays, often producing his own version of the helicopter shot, and his fearlessness at the crease makes him one of the few Associate batsmen capable of standing toe-to-toe against Full Member opposition.
Shahzad had yet to make his debut when Afghanistan’s magic carpet ride took them from WCL Division Five in 2008 to three straight promotions up the Associate cricket ladder, but he proved to be a valuable addition to the squad at his maiden tournament, the 2009 World Cup Qualifier in South Africa. Needing a win in their final Super Eight match to secure ODI status for an initial four-year period, Shahzad struck 73 in a 21-run victory over Namibia. Afghanistan made that that cherished ODI status more permanent, with Shahzad at the forefront of the batting unit, most prominently in T20s. He has played a starring role in each of Afghanistan’s World T20 Qualifier campaigns to secure four consecutive berths at the World T20, beginning in 2010, and he is far and away his country’s career leading scorer in the format.