Need to keep updating bag of tricks: Rashid Khan
From a chubby leg spinner in his debut season in IPL 2017 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rashid Khan has moulded himself into a much sought-after all-rounder in T20 cricket. His family shifted to Afghanistan from Pakistan when he was young and has been through tough times in the last few years in the trouble-torn country. But nothing could affect his concentration and dedication towards cricket.
The circumstances must have encouraged him to accept challenges and deliver through thick and thin. More than the number of wickets, the wily spinner has always maintained that he focuses on economy. But it’s his batting that has turned heads recently.
His 31 off 11 balls, including three sixes from four balls, against Sunrisers Hyderabad will be one of the highlights of Gujarat Titans’ journey to the top of the table with 20 points. No wonder he has turned out to be one of the most trusted all-rounder in the shortest format. The Afghanistan cricketer always had a fast bowler’s mindset, often bowling at close to 100kmph, which enabled him to play an attacking brand of cricket.
Rashid, 23, has evolved as a bowler, working on new tricks to tame the batsman. Having given up on his favourite biryani, he now lives on a strict diet of grilled food and salad. It has helped him improve his fitness and skills.
Rashid spoke to The Telegraph on Monday evening. Excerpts:
- You are a role model and brand ambassador for Afghanistan cricket. How do you look at it and does it bring about more responsibility?
It is a matter of pride for me to represent Afghanistan. Even when I play different T20 leagues, I am still representing the Afghan people. Yes, I do feel a sense of responsibility but when you realise it is a privilege, you feel you are lucky to have it and that people have faith in you.
- Do you set targets before a tournament? If yes, can you explain with an example.
It is not my approach to set targets before a tournament. For example, I never say before an IPL that I should win the purple cap or that I must pick so many wickets in a match. Those thoughts only push you away from the main goal, which is to make the team win. The rest falls into place if you give 100 per cent.
- Despite being a leg spinner, you have a whole lot of variations in your bowling. Did you evolve in your bowling on your own or did the experience of playing across the world help you?
Today’s game is evolving so fast that you need to keep updating your bag of tricks. Playing across the globe, getting experience in different conditions and sharing the dressing room with some big names helps you evolve your game. While there is a lot of hard work put in the nets and studying my bowling, the experience around the globe also helps a lot.
- Do you think it is tough for spinners because of the dew factor in D-N matches?
It is a challenge when there is dew as gripping the ball becomes difficult. Having said that, we need to find ways to be effective as the dew factor is not something that is in our control.
- You play in various leagues around the world. How tough it is adjusting to different cultures in different countries?
I would say it is a privilege. Travelling around the world opens your eyes to new cultures and gives you perspective. I am fortunate to have built many friendships across the globe. When those bonds build, adjusting to new places only becomes easier.
- You always remain calm on the field. How do you maintain such calmness in a mad format like T20.
T20 is fast-paced but the calmer you are, the better it is. In crunch situations, you need to have that calmness. It is about understanding what works for you and I believe that being calm helps me deal with the situation better.
- Tell us something about your charity work and the Rashid Khan Foundation. How does the Foundation work and in which areas?
Cricket has given me a lot and I am very fortunate. I feel it is my duty to give back something to the people of Afghanistan. My foundation aims to look after orphaned children, provide education and healthcare to children who need it. We also aim to help the homeless and create medical facilities towards them.