Home Cricket News How Fazalhaq Farooqi Emerged As Afghanistan’s Leading Pace Bowler?

How Fazalhaq Farooqi Emerged As Afghanistan’s Leading Pace Bowler?

How Fazalhaq Farooqi Emerged As Afghanistan’s Leading Pace Bowler?

Afghanistan‘s left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi has been the standout bowler of the 2024 T20 World Cup so far, effortlessly taking wickets in their first two matches. The 23-year-old began his campaign with impressive figures of 5/9 in four overs against Uganda.

Farooqi was twice on a hat-trick during his spell, ending with the fourth-best figures in T20 World Cup history. His remarkable run, reminiscent of Wasim Akram, continued. In Afghanistan’s second match, Farooqi shocked New Zealand’s highly-rated batters with an outstanding new-ball performance.

By the end of the powerplay, he had impressive figures of 3/17 in 3 overs, firmly putting Afghanistan in control. The young bowler concluded with figures of 4/17 in 3.2 overs, steering Afghanistan to their second straight win.

Additionally, Farooqi became the first bowler in T20 World Cup history to achieve consecutive four-plus wicket hauls.

Although the focus on Afghanistan’s cricket team has mainly been on their top-tier spinners like Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Farooqi has quietly made a name for himself as the leading pace bowler.

Now, with his standout performance in the ongoing T20 World Cup, it’s time to reflect on his journey to becoming Afghanistan’s primary fast bowler.

Fazalhaq Farooqi’s understated transition from a supporting role to a leading position

Fazalhaq Farooqi didn’t have standout numbers in domestic cricket, except in the shortest format, when he debuted for Afghanistan’s T20I team at just 20 years old in 2021. However, he played only one match that year before returning the following year. His first significant performance came in his third T20I, where he took 3/18 against Bangladesh.

Farooqi had an outstanding 2022 T20I season, claiming 20 wickets in 16 games with an average of 20.20 and an economy rate of 6.77. He also made his ODI debut for Afghanistan in 2022.

The left-arm pacer found immediate success, securing two four-wicket hauls against Bangladesh and Pakistan in his first eight ODI matches. With 17 wickets in 10 ODIs in 2022 at an average of under 24, Farooqi established himself as a long-term asset for the team.

Alongside his international performances, the promising pacer earned a coveted IPL contract for the 2022 season with SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH).

In the 2023 season, Farooqi remained a high-risk-high-reward bowler, delivering both costly and wicket-laden spells. He ended the season with 21 wickets in 17 ODIs, with an average of 33.57 and an economy rate of nearly 6.

In 2023, Farooqi’s T20I performance improved significantly, with 9 wickets in 9 games, an average of 22.55, and an economy rate of just 5.80. However, he struggled in the 2023 ODI World Cup, managing only 6 wickets in 6 matches at an average of 38.

With Afghanistan narrowly missing the semi-finals, many experts and fans believed the lack of support from the pacers for the spinners was a key factor. Determined to address this, Farooqi has committed to stepping up in T20Is this year.

In ODIs, Farooqi has struggled, with just 6 wickets in 5 games at an average of over 43 and an economy of 6.66. However, his T20I performance has been outstanding, with 16 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 14.18 and an economy of under 7 in 2024.

He’s also among the top ten bowlers in the ICC Men’s T20I rankings. Overall, his T20I stats of 46 wickets in 36 matches at an average of 18.93 and an economy of 6.56 are remarkable. At 23, Farooqi has become Afghanistan’s main pace bowler, providing crucial early breakthroughs for the spinners.

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