Harare [Zimbabwe]: Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan is over the moon after he, along with former national skipper Mohammad Nabi, became the first cricketers from their war-torn nation to be picked in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction held in Bengaluru.
Rashid is in Harare with his national team as they are busy playing a five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe. He was one of the five Afghanistan players listed in the IPL 2017 auction and he had doubts about whether he would attract any bids.
“My parents woke up early to watch the auction. I was still sleeping when they called me and told me to get up and watch because I was coming up,” Rashid was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“So I started to also watch it from here in Zimbabwe and I was really surprised, really happy and really excited when I saw what was happening. I couldn’t believe it actually, it happened very quickly,” he added.
The leg-spinner, who hails from Nangahar province of Afghanistan, was bought for Rs .4 crore (USD 595,000 approx) by Sunrisers Hyderabad, along with his team-mate Mohammad Nabi for Rs. 30 lakhs.
The 18-year-old cricketer, who has an international cricket experience of less than 18 months, says that his speed makes different from other leg-spinners.
“What makes me different is that I am a bit quicker for a leg-spinner,” Rashid said. “That is something that just came to me naturally, not something that I copied from anyone.”
He also admitted that he enjoys tough situations as it helps it bring the best out of him.
“I love pressure. Mentally, I get myself ready for pressure. That’s how I like to play,” he said.
“Maybe it’s because I grew up playing with my brothers all the time and five of them are older than me but I also think it’s the experience of playing a lot of cricket in a short space of time.”
Since October 2015, Rashid has played in six ODI series and six T20 series, as Afghanistan seek to make themselves more visible on the global stage. Rashid and Nabi’s IPL signings will aid that cause immeasurably.
Having been chosen over some Bangladesh and Sri Lanka stars, the pair’s selection is the biggest indication of the strides Afghanistan are making, and Rashid hopes it does not stop here.
“Our main target is to play Test cricket and all the guys are working very hard to get there,” he said. “If we can get there, you can’t imagine how good it would feel.”
For now, he is happy to concentrate on the shortest format. “In short formats, the more you enjoy it, the better you will do, and I am enjoying it a lot.”
Understandably, Rashid has not made any plans for his new income just yet. He will only see his family after the tournament – Afghanistan travel from Zimbabwe to Ireland and then it will be time for the IPL – and he expects there will be a clamour in his hometown to share in his glory. “Whenever I go home they have a celebration for me so I’m sure this time, they will do it as well.”
Meanwhile, overjoyed with the news, Nabi tweeted, “”Feeling on top of the world, being selected for Team @SunRisers @IPL auction. Tnx for your love & support.”
“Flooded with hapinness today not only for myself but rather for our junior rocking player#Rashidarman being selected for @SunRisers. @IPL,” read his another post. (ANI)