Zadran told ESPNcricinfo last year that his all-time favourite cricketer is Suresh Raina, and given the Afghanistan batsman’s belligerent playing style, you can see why.
Despite his slighter frame in comparison to the 32-year-old World Cup winner, the left-hander more than packs a punch with his unrelenting style and has earned him a regular spot in the Afghanistan middle-order.
Like many of his colleagues, age-group cricket prepared Zadran for the big time, but his transition was far less smooth than he may have expected.
Having made his ODI debut against Ireland in 2012 and his T20I debut against India later that year, he initially failed to convert his starts into significant contributions, only passing the 20-run mark on seven occasions during his first 20 games for his country.
Nevertheless, the selectors noticed the talent and included Zadran in the 2015 World Cup squad, but after returning a modest 123 runs from 6 matches at an average of 24.60 in the tournament and poor subsequent showings against Zimbabwe, he was eventually dropped from the national side.
Zadran returned to the first-class cricket drawing board, and his second coming in February 2016 was far more the player the world recognises today.
Najibullah’s comeback game saw him strike his maiden T20I fifty with a 35-ball 60* against Hong Kong, a knock that eventually helped his side into the main draw for the Asia Cup, before he smashed a career-best 89* against Scotland in Edinburgh in a rain-affected ODI.
Now a mainstay with the national side, he has earnt himself a BPL contract with the Chittagong Vikings, but he will need to build on the three fifties he scored in all formats last year when the World Cup comes around.
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