Afghanistan are all set to start their journey as a Test playing nation, when they will take on the No.1 ranked India in the one-off Test match in Bengaluru on June 14.
Ahead of their historic maiden Test, Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has issued a warning for the Indian batsmen, saying that he will use 'five different types of deliveries' in the match.
In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Rashid said: "I’m practising five different types of deliveries in the nets. I’m yet to use them. I will mix them with the other deliveries in the Test."
In June 2017, Afghanistan along with Ireland, who even already played their maiden Test against Pakistan last week, awarded Test status by International Cricket Council. Rashid feels it is a proud achievement for all the Afghanis and an honour to play against such a big team in their first ever Test.
"It is a big honour to be accepted as a Test nation. We have achieved this in just 13 to 14 years. There is a lot of pride in that achievement. Every Afghan is looking forward to it. Basically if we do well in cricket then people all over the world will talk good things about Afghanistan. Now all the talk is about bombs and death. That makes us very sad. We want to make our countrymen to be proud of our achievements and the world to talk about our cricket. So the game means a lot to us. It is not just a sport," he added.
Most of Rashid Khan’s wickets in his brief international career and in the IPL have come from googlies. Even the top batsmen in the world like Virat Kohli has failed to pick his googly in this year’s IPL.
“I bowl different types of googlies. But the one that is most effective is when I use my fingers, rather than the wrist to make the ball go the other way,” Khan revealed.
"The leg spin is from the front of my fingers. But for the special googly I tweak it hard and the ball goes over the back of the fingers. I adjust the wrist in a manner that it cannot be easily spotted. It is my arm speed and the pace with which I deliver this ball that makes it possible. When I showed this to a couple of IPL leg spinners they were surprised. But when they tried it the ball fell at their feet!” he elaborated.
In the ongoing Indian Premier League, Rashid has scalped 18 wickets in 15 matches at an average and strike-rate of 23.05 and 6.91 respectively. The 19-year-old has played an instrumental role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s dominance throughout the league stage. SRH finished the league stage as the No.1 team, having won 9 out of their 14 matches whereas Rashid is currently placed at the fourth spot on the list of highest wicket-takers in IPL 2018.
Rashid is optimistic that Afghanistan would throw up more quality spinners in future.
"Every country has it strength. India produce good batsmen while England, Australia and New Zealand have excellent fast bowlers. Afghanistan’s speciality is spinners. In fact even our fast bowlers want to bowl spin,” he remarked.
“We have 40 to 50 of our best cricketers practising in Noida for the Test. There are many good young spinners among them. The world will see their brilliance at the inaugural Afghan Premier League in Dubai in October this year. That event will showcase Afghanistan’s talent and make everybody sit up and take notice. Actually, with polishing, motivation and encouragement some of the Afghan players could become international stars," Rashid Khan concluded.