There has been very little top-level international cricket action over the past week due to the break for the Champions League Twenty20. Afghanistan and Kenya are the only sides to have featured in full men’s internationals, while Suzie Bates hit an unbeaten century and led New Zealand Women to a one-run win over West Indies Women yesterday.
Afghan fast-bowler Hamid Hassan is the runaway winner of this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. The flamboyant 26 year-old returned the excellent figures of 20-6-34-9 across the three internationals that Afghanistan played last week.
He began by taking three for four from three overs in the first T20 International and then picked up hauls of four for 19 and two for 11 as Afghanistan were popular winners of the two World Cricket League Championship matches and qualified for the 2015 ICC World Cup.
He led the potent Afghan bowing attack - one that surely must rank as the best in associate and affiliate cricket - well, but was supported ably by the likes of Mohammad Nabi, Shapoor Zadran, Hamza Hotak and Samiullah Shenwari.
Hassan is a strong contender as the best of all bowlers at associate and affiliate level, especially now that Boyd Rankin has decided to pursue a career with England. He has taken 33 wickets in 19 ODIs at an average of less than 20 and averages an eye-watering 10.66 from 11 T20 Internationals.
Besides the stats, he is an entertainer, as demonstrated by the colourful headband and larger-than-life personality. In a time when sport is becoming increasingly about money he reminds us all of the joys of playing it for its own sake.
© Cricket World 2013