World Cup 2019: Who is Ikram Ali Khil?

The 18-year-old has been drafted into the Afghanistan squad in place of the injured wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad.

Ikram Ali Khil has played in national colours in both the 2016 and 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cups.   -  Getty Images

Ikram Ali Khil, 18, who has been drafted into the Afghanistan squad in place of the injured wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad, will become the 41st teenage cricketer to feature in a World Cup match on Saturday against New Zealand.

Rahmat Shah had earlier donned the gloves during the warm-ups but Ali Khil, who has featured for the national side previously in two ODIs and a Test match against Ireland, might be handed the responsibility should the side prefer a specialist option.

Ali Khil made his List A debut less than a year ago. The teenager has played in national colours in both the 2016 and 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cups. In the latter, he caught the eye after scoring 80 in the semi-final against Australia. He also claimed five catches in four matches in the same tournament.

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He was also a key player for his country when it claimed the 2017 U19 Asia Cup, bagging the Player of the Match award in the final for his unbeaten 107 against Pakistan.

Ali Khil, however, hasn’t opened the batting like his mentor Shahzad. He normally bats at No. 3 in domestic fixtures and no higher than No. 5 in the age group national side.

The youngster, however, needs to find his feet quickly as Afghanistan looks for its first win in World Cup 19. With a win vital for the side’s survival in the tournament, Ali Khil will be looking to combine well with Afghanistan’s spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, to make the most of any chances generated by the bowlers.