The independent voice of cricket

Big Bash League 2020/21

Who is Noor Ahmad, the 15-year-old Afghanistan spinner in the BBL?

Noor Ahmad
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Noor Ahmad, the 15-year-old Afghanistan left-arm wrist-spinner, became the youngest BBL player ever when he debuted for Melbourne Renegades in the 2020/21 edition. Here’s all you need to know about the young spinner.

Noor Ahmad – the beginning

Noor Ahmad Lakanwal was born in Afghanistan in 2005. According to an Afghanistan Cricket Board documentary featuring him, he idolised Rashid Khan for his bowling style growing up and wanted to emulate him. Apart from Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad looks up to Noor Ali (who hails from the same Khost region) in the Afghanistan team, while at the international level, he idolises AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. He started playing for the Herat province’s U-16 team in the Alokozay provincial tournament in 2017.

He made his first-class debut in April 2019, playing in the Ahmad Shah Abdali 4-day Tournament for Kabul. In October this year, he made his List A debut.

In 2019, he broke into the Afghanistan U19 side and was part of the team on youth ODI tours to Sri Lanka and India. Last December, he was named in Afghanistan’s 15-man squad for the 2020 U19 World Cup.

Domestic T20 cricket and U19 World Cup

Soon after his U19 debut for Afghanistan, Ahmad participated in the 2019 edition of the Shpageeza League, a T20 tournament run by the Afghanistan Cricket Board. Playing under Rahmanullah Gurbaz for the MIS Ainak Knights, he earned the Emerging Player of the Year award, picking up eight wickets in seven games at an economy of 6.48 in his first edition.

At the U19 World Cup in January-February, Ahmad picked up seven wickets from five games at an economy of 3.39, with best figures of 3-30 against UAE in their group-stage encounter.

During the quarter-final of the tournament against Pakistan, Ahmad grabbed headlines when he Mankaded Mohammad Huraira, on 64, in Benoni. The move divided opinion among the cricket fraternity, and Ahmad copped considerable criticism too, but many, including Ian Bishop, defended him over the dismissal.

The big leagues and beyond

On the back of his T20 performances in 2019, Ahmad enlisted in the 2020 IPL player auction at his base price of INR 30 lakh, the youngest ever to participate in the tournament’s auction process. However, he went unsold. Earlier this year, Ahmad narrowly missed out on playing in the Caribbean Premier League 2020 despite being drafted in by St Lucia Zouks, after he couldn’t secure a transit visa to pass through the UK and travel to the Caribbean.

Soon after, he was picked in the Melbourne Renegades squad for the 2020/21 Big Bash. It was a giant leap for the spinner, featuring in the same team as his senior Afghanistan teammate Mohammad Nabi, and veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir, 26 years Ahmad’s senior.

He made his BBL debut against Hobart Hurricanes under Shaun Marsh and dismissed Peter Handscomb, the opposition skipper in his spell of 4-0-27-1. At 15 years and 350 days, he became the youngest player ever in BBL history.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99