Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Will Young, the New Zealand batsman, has admitted that Pakistan power-hitter Iftikhar Ahmed “is an amazing player.”
Iftikhar has become Pakistan’s go-to power-hitter in T20Is and is starting to be used more frequently in ODIs as well.
During Pakistan’s five-match T20I series against New Zealand earlier in 2023, he amassed 129 runs, which included a top score of 60, at an average of 43 and a strike-rate of 195.45.
He then made 122 runs in two ODIs, which included a top score of 94 not out, at an average of 122 and a strike-rate of 129.78.
Since Iftikhar was not selected for the Sri Lanka Test series, which Pakistan won 2-0, he played for the Surrey Jaguars in the Global T20 Canada, where he accumulated 183 runs in eight games at an average of 45.75 and a strike-rate of 105.17.
He then featured for the Colombo Strikers in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) and scored 25 runs in four matches at an average of 6.25 and a strike-rate of 53.19.
Most recently, Iftikhar was back in action for Pakistan as he played in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan and amassed 47 runs in two games at an average of 23.50 and a strike-rate of 72.30.
Knowing how dangerous Iftikhar can be, Young acknowledged that the 32-year-old from Peshawar is a brilliant cricketer.
“He is an amazing player,” he was quoted as saying by A Sports.
Pakistan are now featuring in the Asia Cup, where Iftikhar hammered a career-best 109 not out in the team’s 238-run win over Nepal.
He didn’t get to bat against India as the match was rained off after the men in blue scored 266 in their innings.
In Pakistan’s first Super Four game, he took one wicket against Bangladesh but wasn’t required to bat as the men in green cruised to a seven-wicket win in Lahore.
Pakistan will now play India once again on September 10 in Colombo.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr.
Travelling reserve: Tayyab Tahir