The game of Cricket has witnessed many starlets making their debuts whilst still in their tender teens. As they say that the first impressions are usually the last impressions, players who left a mark early on in their careers usually ended up becoming regulars in their teams for years to come.
Countries from the sub-continent have a long history of handing a debut to players as young as 17 or maybe even 16. Astoundingly, players from only 3 countries feature in the list of 10 youngest centurions namely Pakistan(5), Bangladesh(4) and Afghanistan.
Without further ago, let us take a look at the 5 youngest cricketers to have scored a century in One Day Internationals.
5. Tamim Iqbal (19 years and 2 days)
Bangladesh have become a serious force in the cricketing world and this man Tamim Iqbal is one huge reason for that. The Bengalis introduced Tamim to the world in 2007 and the left-hander has gone on to become the greatest opener in the country’s history.
Tamim is an explsive player who has the knack of pacing his innings watchfully to assist his team’s batting performances. In the final ODI against Ireland in 2008 Iqbal smashed 129 runs off 136 balls.
The knock featured a whopping 15 fours and a 1 six. At the age of 19, he became the youngest centurion for Bangladesh and fourth youngest in International cricket at that time.
4. Salim Elahi (18 years and 312 days)
Former Pakistan batsman played his first ever ODI match aged 18 years and 312 days and it was an absolute dream debut. The opener smashed a century, and that too while chasing. On September 29th, 1995, Elahi smashed a ton on debut and became the youngest to do so in ODI format of the game.
The record held by former Pakistan batsman Ijaz Ahmed was surpassed and Elahi stole the headlines as his unbeaten 102 off 133 deliveries ensured that Pakistan chased down Sri Lanka’s modest total of 234 with utter ease.
The debutant’s century included 7 boundaries and 1 six. However, a dip in consistency levels hampered Elahi’s chances in the ODI team and was restricted to only 48 matches where he secured 4 centuries on the whole.
3. Imran Nazir (18 years and 121 days)
Another Pakistani opener finds himself in today’s list and its the man who many believe massively underperformaed in his career. Imran Nazir is the third youngest centurion in the history of ODI cricket. The explosive opener had a career full of ups and downs, having made his debut aged just 17. He had to wait for a year to score his first ODI hundred.
In the final match of the ODI series, Zimbabwe managed only 207. Chasing a paltry 208, Imran Nazir played a scintillating knock which featured 10 fours and 2 sixes. His unbeaten 105 ensured that Pakistan won the match without any unease.
Nazir’s inconsistencies with the bat paved for him to be constantly in and out of the side. However, he has managed a total of 79 appearances in the Pakistan color and has been a part of many memorable victories.
2. Usman Ghani (17 years and 242 days)
Afghanistan’s star batsman Usman Ghani made his ODI debut in 2014. In the first few games of his ODI career, Ghani smashed his ODI ton thus becoming the youngest-ever Afghanistan player and second youngest overall to secure a hundred in ODI cricket.
In the second ODI of the series against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo, Ghani scored a watchful knock of 118 from 143 deliveries to clinch the feat. His knock comprised of 12 fours and a six. However, the match wasn’t quite memorable as Zimbabwe chased down the target without any difficulties.
1. Shahid Afridi (16 years and 217 days)
The legendary Shahid Afridi made his debut on 2nd of October 1996 against Kenya and became the second youngest debutant in the 50-over format. The explosive all-rounder was brought in as a specialist spinner on debut but was sent up the order in his second ODI against Sri Lanka 2 days later.
Well, what the world witnessed next was absolute havoc. Boom Boom blasted Lankan bowlers for a staggering 11 sixes and 6 fours to bring up the then fastest ever ODI century in just 37 deliveries. His strike rate of a massive 255 caught the eyes of cricketing fraternity.
In addition to this, he became the youngest batsman ever in any format of the game to score a century and the record stands to this day in all formats of the cricket game. Thus, he has consolidated a legendary status in the history of Pakistan cricket.