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17-year-old Afghanistan batsman breaks Sir Don Bradman's record

International Business Times (IN) logo International Business Times (IN) 09/01/2018 Aprameya C
Baheer Shah © ICC Baheer Shah

A teenager from Afghanistan has surpassed the legendary Sir Don Bradman. The 17-year-old Baheer Shah is making waves with his batting as he now prepares to light up the ICC Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.

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According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body of cricket, Baheer has overtaken Bradman with his incredible batting in first-class cricket.

"...of players with more than 1,000 first-class runs, who has the highest average? Most cricket fans would guess Don Bradman, and up until recently, they'd have been right. But, for the time being, the Australian legend has been pushed into second place by 18-year-old Afghan Baheer Shah, whose average currently reads 121.77," ICC reported today (January 9).

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The right-handed Baheer announced his arrival in the first-class scene with an outstanding 256 not out in October 2017. He hit this superb double century for Speen Ghar Region against Amo Region in a four-day game.

After that dream start, he has racked up high scores of 111, 116, 303 not out and 104. He now has five centuries and two fifties in 12 innings (seven matches). So far he has accumulated 1,096 first-class runs at a record average of 121.77. His overall scores are - 256 not out, 34, 11, 111, 116, 303 not out, 69, 9 not out, 57, 19, 104 and 7.

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On his 256 not out, he told ICC's website, "That was an unforgettable moment for me. I stayed at the wicket for two days, staying very comfortable. I worked on my fitness before the tournament, and the coaches taught me how to bat well. For everyone whenever they get the best score in their life it's a very enjoyable, exciting moment."

Baheer, said it was difficult to get opportunities to play first-class cricket. He said his favourite player is South Africa's Hashim Amla.

"It's difficult to get the opportunity play for our domestic sides, so I'm very thankful for my family and for my friends and my head coach for their support. I only thought I would try my best for my side, so to get 1,000 runs was amazing," he said.

The Afghan teenager missed out on another record after rain played spoilsport in one of the matches.

"After four matches, Baheer had 831 runs in six innings, eclipsing Bill Ponsford's record of 741, and were it not for a washout, which left him stranded on 9 not out, may have matched the Australian as being the quickest to 1,000 first-class runs. But despite all his success, Baheer comes across as very humble, and always looking to credit his success to others," ICC's report said.

Now, Baheer is in New Zealand for the Under-19 World Cup. He has already carried his top scoring a ton and 98 in warm-up matches against Central Districts XI.

"I've started very well in the warm-up matches in Napier. They were good sides with first-class players, but we played four matches and won all four. It's a very good chance for every youngster to promote his career so I'm trying very hard to have a good performance in this World Cup," he said.

Highest first-class batting averages (for players with at least 1,000 first-class runs)

All stats from ICC

RankNameNationalityAverage
1Baheer ShahAfghanistan121.77
2Donald BradmanAustralia95.14
3Vijay MerchantIndia71.64
4George HeadleyWest Indies69.86

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