Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have drafted in 16-year-old Afghanistan spinner Allah Ghazanfar in as a replacement for Mujeeb Ur Rahman for the remainder of the 2024 IPL while Rajasthan Royals have bolstered their ranks with the addition of Keshav Maharaj after Prasidh Krishna was ruled out of the tournament through injury.

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Ghazanfar has already enjoyed a whirlwind start to 2024. In January, Ghazanfar took eight wickets at 16.75 for Afghanistan at the U19 World Cup, turning heads with an eye-catching spell of 3-29 against New Zealand. 

The teenager subsequently earned his maiden senior international call-up for Afghanistan’s ODI series against Ireland where he played in both completed matches. Ghazanfar made his ODI debut at the age of 16 years and 236 days – no Afghanistan cricketer has made their ODI debut at a younger age. In all, he was the fifth-youngest men’s ODI debutant for a Full Member nation.

Ghazanfar joins a KKR side who won their opening game of the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad over the weekend, using Sunil Narine, Phil Salt, Mitchell Starc and Andre Russell as their four overseas players. Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma, two domestic spin options, also played in KKR’s season opener. With three spinners ahead of Ghazanfar in the queue, he is unlikely to be a regular presence in the KKR line-up. If he does debut, however, he will become the youngest overseas player the history of the IPL, breaking the record set by Mujeeb – the man he replaces at KKR – who made his IPL bow at the age of 17 years and 11 days back in 2018.

Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, have secured the services of South Africa finger-spinner Keshav Maharaj. Given the Royals possess Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin as two of their domestic spinners, they are unlikely to use an overseas spot for Maharaj’s spin.