Shapoor Zadran in action Image: AFP
The bullets and blasts narrative that is associated with sportspersons from war-ravaged countries doesn't sit well with Afghanistan speedster Shapoor Zadran, who wants the stereotypical perception to change.
He says it is heartbreaking that tragic incidents keep taking place in the war-torn nation but as professional cricketers, they have no option but to move on. Zadran himself escaped an attempt on his life in 2017 when the car he was travelling in was shot at by unknown assailants.
"They (blasts) keep happening but we have to forget that. Every month there is an attack. We are on tour mostly, what option do we have? We have to put it behind and focus 100 per cent on the game," Shapoor, who is leading the pace attack in the T20 series against Bangladesh, said when asked about the shooting that he survived.
His long hair remains intact but injuries have taken a toll on the 30-year-old body. Ahead of the opening T20 against Bangladesh, he trained with a strapped knee but was still able to generate decent pace from his long run-up.
Not having played a first-class game since August 2013, it is hardly a surprise that he is not in the squad for Afghanistan's inaugural Test against India in Bengaluru from June '14.
For someone who played in Afghanistan's maiden World T20 and World Cup in 2010 and 2015 respectively, it is disappointing to miss out on the historic Test.
"It is disappointing to miss out but I have not been able to play four-day cricket because of injuries. I am fit now and can still hit 140 kmph consistently but I am focusing mainly on limited overs cricket. I have been playing the game for 16 years now and it feels really proud to see that Afghanistan cricket has come such a long way. Never thought we would be playing a Test match against India," said the lanky left-arm pacer.
We have to put it (blasts) behind and focus 100 per cent on the game. Shapoor Zadran
He may not be the fittest in the team but his bowling still packs a punch. Shapoor snared up three wickets in the series opener on Sunday, castling Abul Hasan with a yorker and the one he bowled to rival pacer Rubel Hossain was fast enough to break a stump.
Asked how long he is going to continue playing, Shapoor said, "I think I still have a lot of cricket left in me. I will play as long as I am fit. I want to retire after playing an international match in Afghanistan."
A die-hard Shah Rukh Khan fan, he hopes to play in the IPL and emulate the success of his teammates.
"This time, we had three players (Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Zadran) in the IPL. The number will only increase next season. I learnt a lot while playing the Bangladesh Premier League. Hopefully, I will get a chance in the IPL," said Shapoor.
(Inputs from PTI)