It’s tough to be a budding cricketer in Afghanistan and it was even tougher when Rashid Khan was growing up. Young Afghan boys now have Rashid, Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Afghan and a host of other stars to look up to but it was different when these cricketers were growing up.
With there being no role models in the country, Rashid had to look elsewhere to draw inspiration for cricket, and it came from two neighbouring countries India and Pakistan. Rashid said he learnt a lot by watching former India captain and coach Anil Kumble and ex-Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi while growing up.
“It was tough for me because we didn’t have any role models in cricket because we didn’t have a team that was playing international cricket. Since childhood, I was a big fan of Shahid Afridi and Anil Kumble. I loved watching their bowling. I learnt a lot by watching them.” Rashid told Ravichandran Ashwin in his YouTube show DRS with Ash.
The Afghanistan leg-spinner, one of the biggest cricketing stars of the country, said Kumble and Afridi’s bowling motivated him and gave him the energy to represent his own country someday.
“It motivated me and gave me the energy that one day I will represent my country,” Rashid, who will play for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2020 said.
Rashid believes Afghanistan have the talent and skills to win ICC tournaments and only needs regular cricket against top nations to get there.
“I think the biggest achievement (for Afghanistan) should be, right now, what the team is looking for, what the country is expecting is, to win the T20 World Cup,” he said.
“We have all the skills, talent, and we just need to have that belief in ourselves that we can do it. Talent-wise we are so good, we have the spinners, we have the fast bowlers, we have the batting skills as well. But what took us down in that Test (against India) was our experience against big teams, because we didn’t play enough cricket with them.”