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Rashid: Leg-spin is toughest job in cricket

  • Published at 07:32 pm September 12th, 2019
Rashid Khan
File photo of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan bowling during training in Chittagong in 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The 20-year old gave an interview to Dhaka Tribune where he talked in details about his journey so far, and what had made the Rashid Khan of today

Having made his international bow in 2015 as a precocious 16-year old, Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has come a long way in all these years. At times tough to play and sometimes unplayable, Rashid has played in T20 leagues around the world, including the IPL, Big Bash and BPL, before adding yet another feather to his hat recently when they faced Bangladesh in the lone Test match in Chittagong. Not only did the Afghans win by a comprehensive margin of 224 runs in just their third Test, Rashid also created history by becoming the youngest Test captain in history. The 20-year old gave an interview to Dhaka Tribune where he talked in details about his journey so far, and what had made the Rashid Khan of today. Here are the excerpts:

You started your career in your teens and now find yourself captaining the Test team. How has life changed in the past three years?

It has been a big change since I debuted for Afghanistan. I have travelled the world and get fans’ support everywhere. The love and hospitality has changed over time differently, compared to the first time I played for the national team. It is not the same Rashid Khan that used to walk out on the roads without being recognized. I need to be careful, not because of security, but because of love from the people. I feel very lucky to be someone at this stage at a very short period of time and I feel proud at the same time. The focus now is to maintain this.

How tough is it to maintain the benchmark that you have set for yourself? How tough is it to self train?

It is tough to maintain the standard and at the same time teach yourself.  My belief is if a player wants to improve, he should teach himself. You cannot find a better teacher than yourself. If a teacher is telling you what to do it will not be effective until you apply it. But end of the day, you are to decide if you are doing the right thing. It is quite simple for me. I know that I have to improve with the bat a lot, watching the videos etc. It is same with bowling. You decide your preparation starting with the run-up, release point and other stuffs. We are trying to deliver this habit in the youngsters that are coming up for Afghanistan. If they are given the proper facilities and shown the right path, I think we will have more Rashid Khans.

How do the parents and family deal with Rashid Khan?

They are proud. Getting to such stage in this short time, they are actually proud. They are happy to be called my family. They played a massive role behind me since my U-19 days. I was not allowed to play cricket properly before that. They wanted me to study but as soon as I got into the U-19 team, then IPL, BPL and the national team, the support changed and it helped me in every stage. They are now happy and proud. I actually do not have enough words to express the support they have given. When I am playing in Australia, the time back home is 2am or so, but still they are there to watch my game on TV, the whole family. If the game is not live they follow it on internet. That is something that gives me energy to perform.

Why were you not allowed to play? And who was more strict, your father or mother?

Both of them. My mother was worried of me hurting myself. According to her, the ball is very hard and heavy and it hurts a lot if it hits you. She used to say I will be gone if the ball hits me.

The secrets behind Rashid Khan?

Leg-spin is the toughest job in cricket, I believe. The main reason behind my success has been my action, the speed and the release point. Quick-arm action makes it tough for the batsmen to pick. Whatever that is with me is all natural. I have not copied or taught. It is something like God-gifted talent. It had come one fine day playing with my brothers at home and I realized I can do something good with that. Bowlers bowling with 150kmh or more are naturally gifted, it is the same case with me. I bowl quicker, that has happened by itself, I did not work on it.

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