What’s the story?
Upon terming Sachin Tendulkar as his inspiration, Afghanistan’s rising sensation Rashid Khan also hopes to meet the likes of Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni when he travels to India to take part in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL).
“It is the best feeling for me (to play in the IPL). I just can't wait for it, there are some big names in the (SRH) Hyderabad team. What really matters to me is getting a chance to play this league. It is a big thing for our country especially for the young generation of our country.
“It is a great message for the cricketers of our country. There is a lot of talent in Afghanistan, they just need some inspiration. Hopefully, you will see more big names from our country in the coming years,” Rashid told India Today.
On his role-models, the youngster quipped, “I love Sachin Tendulkar a lot. He has been a huge inspiration all these years. I want to meet him and will try to get a few tips from him. I also want to meet (Virender) Sehwag and (MS) Dhoni.”
All of 18 years, Rashid hit the headlines last month when Sunrisers Hyderabad splurged out a whopping INR 4 Crores in the IPL Auction to acquire his services for the 2017 edition of the popular Twenty20 tournament. The leg-spinner will share the dressing room with fellow Afghan cricketer Mohammad Nabi who was picked up for INR 30 Lakhs.
The heart of the matter
Rashid was in the thick of things during the recently completed T20I series against Ireland in Greater Noida. In the second match, he etched his name in the record books by picking up the fastest five-wicket haul in international cricket.
Not only a wily wrist-spinner, he is also a handy batsman who loves to ‘send the ball out of the park’. Having modelled his game on former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, Rashid felt that his quick leg-break titled the scales in his favour during the IPL Auction.
The Nangarhar-born cricketer also sounded excited at getting the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of David Warner, Yuvraj Singh, Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan.
Rashid’s immediate assignment will be the 5-match ODI series against Ireland at their adopted home in Greater Noida. Upon its completion, Afghanistan will also play a four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture against the same opponents to bring the month to a close.
As evidenced by the exploits of Rashid and Nabi, Afghanistan have made rapid strides in the last few years. The wrist-spinner, who is ranked fifth in the T20I bowlers rankings, will be the one to look out for in the 2017 IPL season. If he does play against Rising Pune Supergiants, the teenager might realise his dream of not only meeting Dhoni but also getting the opportunity to bowl at him.