History was made as Aasif Sheikh etched his name in the annals of Nepalese cricket by becoming the first ever player from Nepal to score a half-century against India in an international match.
The right-handed wicketkeeper-batter, who made his debut for Nepal in 2021, demonstrated his batting prowess alongside Kushal Bhurtel in the opening overs of the game. Together they put up a formidable 65 runs for the first wicket in the first 10 overs, setting a steady pace for Nepal at the Asia Cup 2023.
Sheikh was undeterred by three near-miss drops in the first five overs of the game, and along with Bhurtel, fought back against the Indian pacers. More aggressive of the two, Bhurtel raced to 38 off 25 balls until his dismissal by Shardul Thakur. Sheikh, in contrast, hunkered down, biding his time against the Indian spinners, and patiently crafted a well-composed 58 off 96 balls before getting out to Mohammed Siraj.
Born in January 2001, Sheikh has an impressive cricketing career. His cricketing journey began with him captaining the Nepal U-19 team in the 2018 Quadrangular Cricket Tournament in India and leading the Nepal national U-19 cricket team in the 2018 ACC Asia Cup.
The 22-year-old’s track record features many notable feats, such as scoring a stunning unbeaten 111 in the 2016 Everest Premier League final and leading his team to win their first EPL title. His performance also earned him the recognition of being the tournament’s leading run-scorer.
Highlighting his sportsmanship, Sheikh won the 2022 ICC Spirit of Cricket Award. A decision he took during a T20I fixture against Ireland to not run out Irish batsman Andy McBrine became a symbol of the game’s true spirit and earned him this prestigious accolade—another first for a Nepalese cricketer.
Embedded in Sheikh’s memorable journey, his phenomenal half-century against India is a testament of resilience and determination, marking a significant chapter in Nepal’s cricketing history as they navigate the international circuit. His tale serves as an inspiration for the youth of Nepal, nurturing their aspirations to play cricket at the highest level.