Cartwheeling, war-painted Afghanistan fast bowler Hamid Hassan wants to rip through Australia tomorrow, using England Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff as his inspiration.
Hassan had become a cult figure at the World Cup with a bandanna in his country’s colours wrapped tightly around his head and tiny Afghanistan flags painted onto his cheeks.
His team’s remarkable rise through the cricket hierarchy faces its toughest challenge yet in Perth where 27-year-old Hassan is eager to test his pace on the WACA’s famously fast pitches.
The seamer now wants to follow in the footsteps of Flintoff who sparked England’s defeat of Australia in the 2005 Ashes where he claimed 24 wickets.
“There are a lot of fast-bowlers I love to watch, but the one guy I was very inspired by was in the Ashes series in 2005 ... when I saw Andrew Flintoff,” Hassan told a sports web portal.
“He played like a hero in that Ashes series. He bowled really well, bowled fast and quick, got 24 wickets and got some runs in batting. I wish I could bat like him but I’m not a good batsman.
“He inspired me a lot with the way he played, the way he bowled, the way he batted, his celebrations and everything. He was amazing.”
Afghanistan go into Wednesday’s Pool A game having won their first ever World Cup clash against Scotland, which followed defeats by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and they remain in quarter-final contention with further games to come against New Zealand and England.