Headingley: Afghanistan's Ikram Ali Khil drew comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar for a stunning knock against the West Indies in their last World Cup game which his team lost by 23 runs.
On Thursday, Ikram broke Tendulkar's record for the highest score by an 18-year-old at an ICC World Cup at Headingley, where the Little Master once broke the mould as Yorkshire's first overseas player in 1992.
The wicket-keeper's 86 off 92 deliveries against the West Indies saw him move ahead of Tendulkar's best of 84 which came 27 years ago. "I'm very proud to have broken the record of a legend like Tendulkar. It makes me very happy," Ikram was quoted as saying by the ICC.
But rather than Tendulkar, it is former Sri Lanka keeper Kumar Sangakkara who Ikram views as a role model. "Kumar Sangakkara is always in mind and my thoughts when I am batting out there," he said. "His ability to rotate strike and find a boundary when needed, that is what made him a world class batsman. That is what I try to copy as much as I can."
Chasing 312, Afghanistan came out with a spirited batting performance but they failed to register their first win in the ongoing tournament. There was a mixture of pride and frustration at producing the highest score by an Afghan at this World Cup for the Ikram.
"I'm very happy that I scored 86 runs which was the top score for Afghanistan," said Ikram. "No one had crossed that mark in the nine games but I'm disappointed at the same time because I thought I could score a hundred. Hopefully in the games ahead I will score a hundred for Afghanistan.
"I want to work very hard at my game and become the best-ever player produced by Afghanistan. I'm very happy with the experience I have got at this World Cup. Both playing with my teammates but the opposition as well, the likes of the West Indian players, Australians, Indians, Pakistanis, they have all helped me and guided me.
"That has given me a lot of confidence and I will go home and work really hard on my game," he added. Afghanistan failed to win even a single match in his edition of the World Cup. However, they gave a lot of teams, including India, a run for their money and made sure they cannot be considered as minnows in world cricket.