Rashid Khan speaks about being mentored by Muttiah Muralitharan

Rashid Khan has been in raging form with the ball, both in the IPL as well as in the T20I series against Bangladesh.

Rashid Khan was named Man of the Match in both the T20s against Bangladesh | Source AFP

Afghanistan's young leg-spinning wonder Rashid Khan has been making headlines since the IPL 2018 and it was his clinical performance with the ball which helped Afghanistan register a historic series win against Bangladesh in Dehradun.

After an improvident performance against Bangladesh, Rashid Khan has reached another milestone after grabbing seven wickets in two matches. The 19-year-old cricketer has been very effective for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the latest IPL tournament. With his SRH bowling coach, Muralitharan the young sensational player has seized a lot of achievements in the past few years.

After clinching a famous series win, Rashid talks about his journey till now and how Muttiah Muralitharan has helped in succeed in cricket.

 In a recent interview to Firstpost, Rashid said "The coaches I have come across and trained under never pressurised me to make too many changes to my bowling. They mostly share their experiences with me, tell me about staying cool, maintaining my calm in this game. To enjoy the game regardless of my form, and to believe in myself.

"This is precisely the message that I got from Murali sir as well. He even told me that I was much better than him in terms of skill, but that I’ve got to enjoy the game at the end of the day, regardless of whether you’re having a good or a bad day," said the emerging star of Afghanistan.

Rashid Khan's top bowling was one of the reasons behind Sunrisers Hyderabad awesome performance in IPL 2018 but unfortunately, the table toppers lost the final against Chennai Super Kings. The leg-spinner can single handily take Afghanistan to a new height where they can start their Test stint on a positive note. Virat Kohli will be missing out on the only test against Afghanistan that can definitely be a good thing for the Afghan bowlers.

"Yeah it does boost your confidence, but still you have to perform at the end of it. It’s not as if the batsman won’t try and go for shots at all if I have the mental edge. If you bowl loose deliveries in IPL, the batsman — even a tailender for that matter — will attack you, as IPL is a platform where they are that good.

"If you deviate in your line and length, you will leak runs. Even if the batsman is low on confidence, you still have to bowl well, in the right areas. For me, that is important. No matter what form the batsman is in, my focus is always to bowl in the right areas," acknowledged Rashid.

A heavy win against Bangladesh in the T20s will surely boost Rashid and Afghanistan's temperament for the Test match against India starting  June 14 in Bengaluru.

The One off test against India will be really pivotal for Afghanistan as it will start a new beginning for a country like Afghanistan. If they manage to win against the top test team then gradually cricket in Afganistan can develop with more youngsters like Rashid Khan showing up to represent their nation.

"Mentally speaking, I don’t think I should be preparing for the inaugural Test any difference whatsoever. If I think too much along these lines, then I might end up in a confused state of mind, which might then affect my performance.

"No doubt it is an important Test for us as well as for the entire nation of Afghanistan, and the focus would be for us to simply enjoy ourselves out there. It will be a longer format, and a lot more time (will be spent on the ground). The best will be for us to enjoy every moment — whether bowling, fielding or batting — which then will lead to a good performance."

Rashid Khan has gathered a lot of fans in his second home and undoubtedly they are going to show up in Bengaluru to chant Rashid, Rashid, Rashid! After the win at Dehradun, Rashid Khan could not stop himself from expressing his love for the crowd that came in support of Afghanistan.

"I felt quite proud (of the support received at Dehradun) and consider this my second home. Facilities are quite good at this venue. I haven’t seen too many international venues with facilities like the one here, with an expansive and well-developed pavilion and sizeable ground as well for that matter.

"I think this will be a very big and good ground in the future," said the native of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, who added that he's been showered with love whichever part of India he had been too, something that has only increased his love for this country.


By Kunal Kataria - 07 Jun, 2018

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