Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has created history after becoming the youngest No.1 in men's cricket following the Asian nation's 4-1 One Day International (ODIs) series victory over Zimbabwe.
The right-handed leg spinner picked up 16 wickets against the African nation in the five matches that took place from 9 to 19 February. He was impressive with the ball, averaging 7.9 per wicket. Khan climbed up the ODI bowling ranking and now shares the number one spot with India's Jasprit Bumrah.
He became the youngest ever men's player at just 7,092 days of age to become the new No.1. This record is across all formats - Test, ODIs and T20s - and all divisions that include batting, bowling and all-rounder rankings.
Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq had held this record for over two decades when he achieved this feat at the age of 7,683 days in January 1998. Khan has another feather in his cap as he continues to impress with the ball.
Mushtaq broke Sachin Tendulkar's record in 1998. The 2011 World Cup winner with India became the new No.1 Test batsmen in 1994 and achieved this feat at the age of 7,878 days. Previously, the same record was held by Australia's Sir Don Bradman and West Indies' Gary Sobers.
Bradman (8,219 days) and Sobers (8,191 days) achieved this feat as No.1 Test batsmen in the year 1931 and 1959, respectively. Tendulkar then surpassed Sobers after 35 years.
Who is Rashid Khan?
Khan was born on 20 September, 1998, in Nangarhar, eastern Afghanistan, and has 10 siblings. During his childhood, his family fled their homeland due to the Afghan war and moved to Pakistan in order to be safe.
"My family and I have been fortunate. Our lives have not been badly affected by the war. I was too young to be aware of the turmoil immediately after September 11. My dad has told me all about that," says Khan, as quoted by the Players Voice.
"We went to live in Pakistan for a few years, to be safe. It was about a three-hour drive east.We moved there before we experienced any real trouble back home. It wasn't the easiest transition, but it was better for the family. When we came back, we were able to pretty much resume our normal life and I returned to school."
Khan is "huge" Shahid Afridi fan
Growing up, Khan was an admirer of former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi. The 37-year-old all rounder was impressive with the ball and explosive with the bat. The Afghan teenager studied his idol in detail and knew what needed to be done in order to become successful.
"I was a huge fan of Shahid Afridi growing up. He was from the tribal area that stretches across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. I watched him, studied him. I loved his enthusiasm, the way he attacked the batsman. I knew that had to be my attitude if I wanted to be successful," he said.
Less than a month after his 17th birthday, the right-arm spinner made his international debut for Afghanistan against Zimbabwe on 18 October 2015. He picked up two wickets and conceded 30 runs in his 10 overs as Afghanistan sealed a 58 runs over Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
A week later, Khan made his T20I debut for Afghanistan against Zimbabwe and has been a regular inclusion in his national side since then. He has featured in 37 ODIs and 29 T20I and has picked up 86 and 47 wickets respectively in the two formats.
Khan made headlines in Afghanistan when Sunrisers Hyderabad picked him for the 2017 IPL season. The former IPL winners retained their star spinner and also added his compatriot Mohammad Nabi to their squad in the January auction for the 2018 campaign.
In his debut season in the IPL, Khan picked up 17 wickets in 14 matches, with an average of 21.05. He also has an economy rate of 6.62 in the IPL 2017.
The Afghanistan leg-spinner has a long way to go before he can be compared to the bowling greats. However, the exposure in the IPL and playing in other domestic T20 leagues has only helped him gain experience, which is a positive sign for the betterment of cricket in Afghanistan.