Knight at 16! Meet Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar, KKR’s latest mystery spinner

KKR have signed Allah Ghazanfar for IPL 2024 (Photo: ACB)

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have roped in Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar, a 16-year-old right-arm off-spinner from Afghanistan, to replace Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who is sidelined due to injury for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Ghazanfar, who has participated in two ODIs for Afghanistan, has played three T20s and six List A matches, claiming five and four wickets respectively. His acquisition comes at his base price of Rs 20 lakh. Meanwhile, Mujeeb is currently in London, recovering from a finger injury, as confirmed by his manager Kaustav Lahiri. 

The youngest player in the IPL 2023 auction, when he was 15, Ghazanfar also tried his luck at the Big Bash League auction, albeit without success. Those familiar with his game draw comparisons to Mujeeb Zadran’s style, a renowned finger-spinner in both international and franchise cricket, as well as to the techniques of Ravichandran Ashwin, whom Ghazanfar considers an inspiration.

Originally from the Zurmat district in Paktia province, Ghazanfar is six-foot-two. Despite starting out as a fast bowler, he transitioned into spin bowling under the guidance of former Afghanistan captain Dawlat Ahmadzai. Ghazanfar’s path to recognition began with local U-16 tournaments, leading to opportunities to train with Afghanistan’s U-19 squad. He showcased his skills in the Shpageeza League for Mis Ainak Knights, claiming figures of 4 for 15 against Hindkush Stars in his second match. Additionally, Ghazanfar represented Afghanistan in the Under-19 World Cup 2024. With the likes of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy in the KKR squad, Ghazanfar will have plenty of opportunities to learn.

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