On our day we can beat any of the sub-continental teams, says Afghanistan's Shahzad

The aggressive Afghan batsman with 2508 runs in 76 ODIs at 34.35 is looking forward to the ICC ODI World Cup.

Mohammad Shahzad was delighted to be in the city of Chennai Super Kings and his idol M.S. Dhoni.   -  AP

Mohammad Shahzad learnt his cricket at a refugee camp in Peshawar. He comprehends cricket, life and its various hues.

His has been a rocky journey of struggle and sacrifice yet the stocky Shahzad is a blithe spirit who loves to laugh and launches into extravagant dance routines upon reaching milestones.

A mind-boggling 16-ball unbeaten 74 in a star-studded T 10 Cricket League in the UAE was one of his claims to fame in recent times. The celebration of this sizzler was, predictably, unique.

And now Shahzad has joined his Afghan team-mates at the Sri Ramachandra’s CSS in Chennai where the side is undergoing specialised training.

He said to Sportstar on Monday, “There are not too many occasions to smile or shake a leg on a cricket field. It’s a serious sport. So when I get an opportunity, I make the most of it.”

Shahzad was delighted to be in the city of Chennai Super Kings and his idol M.S. Dhoni. “I am so happy to be in Chennai. This is my first visit. Dhoni has had so many wonderful moments here.”

Read: 16 balls, 14 boundaries, 74 runs - Shahzad steals show in T10 opener

Asked about his aggressive batting style — he does not merely hit the ball but bludgeons it — Shahzad responded, “I play my natural game. I look at the length and if the ball is in my zone, I go for it irrespective of the format.”

The Afghan has had conversations with Dhoni on ‘keeping. Shahzad has pulled off some smart stumpings too, after which he shakes his hips and throws up his arms!

The man with 2508 runs in 76 ODIs at 34.35 is looking forward to the ICC One-day World Cup.

Shahzad said, “On our day we can beat any of the sub-continental teams. Our batting is coming together, we have fast bowlers in Dawlat Zadran and Aftab Alam and you all know about our spinners.”

A confident Shahzad added, “We believe we have a chance of making the semifinals.”      

With his bulging waistline, a wholesome, honest exterior, and an uncluttered game, Shahzad is a throwback to another era.

Yet, Shahzad can do plenty of damage in the glittering realm of cricket’s shortest formats with his ability to innovate and play different kinds of shots.

While taking Afghanistan to greater heights and giving its people “happiness” is his primary objective, Shahzad is looking forward to featuring in the IPL.

He should be a perfect fit. Characters such as him come rare.