Rashid Khan burst on international cricket firmament like a meteor. In a short span of time, he has taken the cricket world by storm, bamboozling batsmen with his subtle leg-break spin bowling.
The ‘Afghanistan’s Afridi’, as he’s fondly called, is a wily bowler, who batsmen are finding hard to score off, leave alone hitting sixes and fours. His stats bear testimony to the control he has over his craft. Whereas leg-spinners are tend to be an expensive tribe, Rashid is an exception, who bowls niggardly, as his impressive economy rates in ODI and T20I indicate.
In just 41 ODIs, he’s taken 96 wickets, including four 5-fers at a strike-rate of 21.53 and economy rate of 3.94. In 29 T20I, he has scalped 47 wickets at a strike-rate of 14 and economy rate of 5.86.
However, these are early days for this teenage sensation and sterner tests await him. Yet numbers are excellent for any format and prognosis a great career ahead of him.
First love batting:
However, Rashid’s first love was batting and till 2013, he was opening batting for his club and also batted at No.4 for his team. He considers himself a bowler who loves batting. But as he started taking wickets, he was asked by captain and coach to pay more attention to his bowling. Consequently, he started taking his bowling seriously in 2014. From 2015 onwards, he was deemed a bowler who can also bat. He has not looked back since then. He is a livewire on field, known for his agile fielding and diving stops, which completes his profile as an excellent all-round cricketer.
Career so far:
After his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 2015, he became the first ever two Afghan players selected to play in 2017 IPL. He was lapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs.4 crore in February 2017. He took 17 wicket in 14 matches at IPL. He would return to play for Sunrisers Hyderabad again this year after his franchisee paid whopping Rs.9 crore at IPL Auction held in January 2018, using Right to Match option, to retain his services.
In March 2017, he was bought by Guyana Amazon Warriors for $60,000 to play in the 2017 Caribbean Premier League. In September 2017, he took a hat-trick for Guyana Amazon Warriors, the first hat-trick in the history of the CPL.
In September 2017, he signed with Adelaide Strikers to play in the 2017–18 Big Bash League, he later went on to win the 2017–18 BBL. Last month, he was signed by Sussex County Cricket Club to play in the NatWest T20 Blast in England.
In January 2018, the International Cricket Council named him as the Associate Cricketer of the Year.
In February 2018, he became the youngest player to top the ICC Player Rankings for bowlers in ODIs. In the same month, he topped the ICC Player Rankings for bowlers in T20Is, too.
In March 2018, during the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier, he captained Afghanistan for the first time in an ODI match, as regular captain Asghar Stanikzai recovered from having his appendix removed. At the age of 19 years and 165 days, Rashid Khan became the youngest player to captain an international side.
Rashid Khan Arman was born on 20th September, 1998 in Nangarhar province, whose capital Jalalabad, is nestled under Hindukush mountain range and is about 150 kms east of Kabul. Rashid has ten siblings, six brothers and four sisters. He’s the sixth child. He grew up playing cricket in the park and streets of Jalalabad along with his brothers. His father noticed Rashid’s precocious talent and interest in the game, and encouraged him to play cricket.
Surprisingly, Rashid and his family remained unaffected by Afghan war and didn’t suffer war ordeal. For a few years his family migrated to Pakistan to escape war torn region, but returned to Afghanistan later and resumed normal life in no time.
Apparently, Rashid grew up watching Shahid Afridi and became his huge fan. So much so that he modelled his bowling action on Afridi’s. Like him, he also bowls fastish leg-breaks, attacking stumps all the time. He practices hard, trying to bowl tighter line and add more variations in his repertoire.
Afghanistan has been accorded Test status by ICC recently, paving the way for Rashid to showcase his talent at big stage and pit his skills against Test players. His real test will begin now and reveal what stuff he is made of.
Given his innate talent and natural ability, this ebullient youngster is set to scale greater heights in the years to come. He’s an exciting prospect, a godsend for the game of cricket for keeping alive the difficult art of legspin in the age of slam-bang cricket.
Next Milestone on the card:
Fastest to take 100 ODI Wkts (Matches)
52 ~ Starc
53 ~ Saqlain Mustaq
54 ~ Shane Bond
Rashid Khan has played 41 ODIs and taken 96 wickets.
He just needs 4 more wickets to reach this milestone.
Wishing him cheers and Godspeed.