Afghan influence to grow in BBL

Afghanistan’s influence in the BBL is set to rise, with spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan tipping up to 15 players from the Asian nation to eventually ply their trade in Australia’s national T20 competition.

Mujeeb’s Brisbane Heat side meets Zahir’s Melbourne Stars outfit on Thursday night at Metricon Stadium, with Mujeeb particularly expected to have an impact on the result.

The pair are currently part of a five-strong Afghan contingent in the BBL along with Adelaide Strikers star Rashid Khan, and Melbourne Renegades duo Mohammad Nabi and Noor Ahmad, who is just 16.

But it’s a number that’s set to swell in upcoming years, with the BBL gaining great exposure in Afghanistan.

“We have good spinners over here – it’s like a factory,” 19-year-old Mujeeb said.

“More players are coming people are watching me, watching Zahir … Noor.”

Mujeeb Ur Rahman (left) and Zahir Khan are two Afghanistan players currently in the BBL. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve HollandSource:News Corp Australia

Zahir said: “We have five here at the moment, in the future it’ll be 11, 12, 15. There are very good spinners and more coming … and fast bowlers also.

“Afghanistan cricket is growing day by day.”

Mujeeb and Zahir, 22, are good friends, having met through cricket about seven years ago.

Zahir said Mujeeb, who has taken 11 wickets this BBL season, was the better bowler of the pair.

“He’s a very good man,” Zahir said.

Mujeeb, as well as Rashid and Nabi, could miss the closing stages of this season’s tournament

after being named in the Afghanistan squad for an upcoming one-day international series against Ireland in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, the Heat can move ahead of the Stars in the battle for top-five berth with a bonus point win on Thursday night.

Heat captain Chris Lynn, who returned from a hamstring injury as an “X Factor” player in Brisbane’s win over the Sydney Thunder last Monday night, is set to be named in his side’s top 11 against the Stars.

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