Always hard to change from one team to another, but as professionals, we adjust quickly: Rashid Khan
New Delhi : Rashid Khan has made a name for himself due to his consistent performances in the shortest format of the game. Around the world, he plays in almost every T20 league Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League, Afghanistan Premier League and Pakistan Super League to name a few.His brilliant wrist movement, speed and accurate line got him praise from several legendary cricketers. Shane Warne was also one of his admirers.Currently playing in 2022 IPL for Gujarat Titans, the leg-spinner is impressing again, just the way he used to do for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Just to ponder readers’ minds, in 2017, he was bought by Hyderabad for Rs 4 crore. He was amongst the two first ever Afghan players to be selected for the IPL. And earlier, this year, he was picked by Gujarat Titans ahead of the auction for Rs 15 crore.So far in this season, Rashid has taken five wickets in three matches. In Friday’s match against Punjab Kings, he scalped three.IANS spoke to the stylish cricketer and he shared his view on the lucrative league (IPL) and also the future of the game in his country.
Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Q: Rashid, you have raised the profile of cricket in Afghanistan and some new talents have come in. How do you see the growth of Afghanistan cricket in the past few years and what are expectations from the future?
A: Well, youngsters and everybody in Afghanistan love cricket… it is massive there. Talent is also coming up from the country, as you can see in IPL and other leagues of the world. Afghan players are getting placed (in major tournaments), it is really impressive. This time 5-6 Afghan players are participating in the Indian Premier League. So, the growth I can say is fine and if we get more improved infrastructure, like good grounds and other facilities, we get more domestic events, then in the next five year, we will be able to see some more new talents coming up from Afghanistan. There are areas which need to be worked on. And we will be a much better side (Afghan team) then.
Q: You were the captain of Afghanistan; would you like to lead again at some point of your career?
A: Well, didn’t think about it at all (chuckles). Right now, the entire focus is only on cricket. I am thinking of, as a player, as much contribution I can provide to Afghanistan cricket. That is something which I have in my mind. You know, it’s not just about whether someone is a captain or not. I always think about wherever I can deliver for the team, whether captain or not. Especially with the youngsters you know, to just help them with the experience as much as possible.
Q: Rashid, if we talk about IPL now that the tournament is on and you are in a new team Gujarat Titans. So was it emotionally tough for you to shift from Sunrisers Hyderabad to Gujarat or as a professional cricketer it was not a big deal?
A: It’s always a little bit hard, you know, as a player who’s been with one team for such a long time. But as a professional cricketer, you have to be mentally ready for any situation and circumstances. Now, I am so happy to be here in Gujarat. It has been amazing so far and we are enjoying it here. Got a bit of a new role as a vice captain, which is interesting. Yeah, so far so good the competition. Have good wins and we are looking forward to keeping that momentum going.
Q: How Gujarat’s team culture is different from Hyderabad?
A: Well, new team, new players, now coaches, new staff, everything looks a little bit different whenever you go to the new spot. But here (in Gujarat) most of the players I know very well, we played together. Every team has their own style…
Q: Rashid, you recently launched your own brand RK 19 (RK is for Rashid Khan and 19 is jersey number) So, how did this idea come into your mind? What prompted you?
A: If you look back to 5-6 years ago, I never even thought about this idea, you know. From Afghanistan, I would be someone getting into this spot, but getting to this place in cricket, it’s a different feeling, it is a proud moment for me and for the whole country. But later on, you know, I had that in mind that we don’t have so many brands from Afghanistan. That is something which was there in my mind that one day I want to start my own brand – RK 19. I launched my own brand and it was kind of a dream for me to have my own brand and launch it. I’m so happy to announce RK19 and looking forward to it.