Rashid Khan has set the Indian Premier League alight just two matches into his maiden season, and while he is enjoying the Twenty20 competition, the teenage Afghan spinner says playing test cricket is his ultimate dream.
Rashid Khan to ReutersThe target is – I should play Test cricket for my country. That’s my main target, to be called a Test cricketer.
Included in the auction at a base price of Rs 50 lakh, the Sunrisers Hyderabad raised eyebrows by splurging Rs 4 crore on the leg-spinner from Afghanistan.
However, Hyderabad had clearly done their homework as Rashid grabbed the top wicket-taker's 'purple cap' on Sunday after his 3-19 set up a comprehensive win over Gujarat Lions.
Rashid is the first Afghan to play in the IPL and while he is enjoying his time in the limelight he has not lost sight of his long-term goals. He says he is using his time in the IPL to learn from elite players, pick the brains of top coaches and get used to performing in front of huge crowds.
It’s been a wonderful experience, playing with big names like (David) Warner, Yuvraj (Singh), Kane Williamson. We’ve one of the best coaching staff that includes Tom Moody and (Muttiah) Muralitharan. It changes your game. To be part of such a wonderful team also shows that I’ve something and I’m capable of giving.
Afghanistan, an associate team, is knocking on the door of test cricket after beating Ireland in last month's ICC Intercontinental Cup and Rashid said it would be "wonderful" to play a five-day match.
Meanwhile, Rashid immediately impressed against Royal Challengers Bangalore, claiming two wickets, and his googly is so well camouflaged that even Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch could not read it in the match against Gujarat.
Haven’t Decided What to do With IPL Money Yet: Rashid Khan
Rashid was touring Zimbabwe with the Afghanistan team when he received a call from his family early one morning asking him to follow the auction.
I woke up and was watching the auction. Imran Tahir’s name came and went. I was a little bit tense and was thinking if he was not taken then how would I be? It was wonderful to be part of an IPL team. You can’t express that feeling.
Hyderabad also signed Rashid's Afghan team mate Mohammad Nabi at his base price of Rs 30 lakh.
Rashid said his IPL stint would inspire similar dreams in Afghanistan where he and his teammates had to overcome a lack of facilities to make an impression.
It means a lot for Afghanistan cricket. It’s a big thing for a player from an associate member to play in such a big event like IPL. It’s a wonderful message to all the players in Afghanistan – that if you work hard and perform well, you can achieve any target.
Rashid remains quietly confident of justifying his own price tag and he has not decided how he will spend the money.
"I have nothing in my mind. I've been playing non-stop cricket for the last three months.
"I have not been to home for a long time. Once I'm free, get some time and go home, I'd discuss with family and decide what to do with it."
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(This article has been published in an arrangement with Reuters.)
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