Among all Afghan players, Ibrahim Zadran spent the longest time with Sachin Tendulkar on the eve of their World Cup match against Australia, taking batting lessons from the all-time great.
The one-on-one chat with the master had its effect, for the 21-year-old opener on November 7 became the first player from Afghanistan to record a hundred in a World Cup match. Needless to say, Zadran thanked the batting great for his invaluable tips moments after reaching the landmark.
Thanks to his brilliant knock of 129, Afghanistan posted a challenging 291 for five against an attack comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa.
That he turned up in casuals on the match eve, instead of the training kit, didn’t matter.
“I had a good chat with Sachin Tendulkar. He shared his experience, and I said before the match that I will bat like Sachin Tendulkar. He gave me a lot of energy and confidence,” he told the broadcaster following his 143-ball innings.
Zadran’s knock contained eight fours and three sixes, as it allowed Afghanistan to post a fighting total.
“I am feeling great to score Afghanistan’s maiden hundred in (World Cup). I worked really hard for this tournament.
“I missed a hundred against Pakistan but made it today. I was talking to my coaching staff, and I told them I have a feeling I will get a hundred in next three matches,” he added.
On Monday evening, Tendulkar gave him tips about batting for longer durations and exploring more options while playing shots. The legend also told them to fix a goal (team goal).
Zadran said the surface here was good to bat on and rued losing wickets in the middle overs, which stopped them from taking the total past 300.
“Wicket is looking good, ball is coming so well. If we had made good partnerships and kept wickets in hand, we would have scored 330.
“But, we lost a few wickets and didn’t get the kind of partnership (we aimed for). But Rashid played well in the end,” he said.