Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan calls for greater ‘opportunities’
Afghanistan spin wizard Rashid Khan on Monday said that while he had benefited from competing in international tournaments, the nation’s young talent needed more exposure to top-tier competition.
The Mohammad Nabi-led team defeated Sri Lanka in the tournament’s opening game of T20 Asia Cup and will play Bangladesh on Tuesday in Sharjah.
Rashid continues to shine brightest among a galaxy of outstanding athletes, many of whom have experienced difficult times in the country, which last year experienced another Taliban takeover.
Despite the odds, the former underdogs have established themselves among the top cricketers since their Test debut in India in 2018.
Along with Nabi and former captain Asghar Afghan, the 23-year-old Rashid has been instrumental in the team’s incredible ascent. He stated that they still want more room in the cricketing calendar with elite teams.
“We haven’t played much international cricket, especially the longer format. It’s just about the FTP (future tours programme). It’s not in the hand of the players,” Rashid told reporters on the eve of their second Asia Cup match.
“We want to play a lot of international cricket, that gives opportunities as youngsters come up through that. They should get the kind of environment where they can promote their cricket and skills.”
Between April 2022 and May 2027, Afghanistan is slated to play 53 ODIs, 71 T20Is, and 22 Tests. The majority of which will be against lower-ranked opponents like Ireland and Zimbabwe.
Champion leg-spinner Rashid has amassed 112 wickets in 67 T20 internationals. He competes in a variety of short-format leagues, such as the IPL and the Hundred.
“Playing all the international leagues is something which gives us the kind of opportunity where we can learn from the best players,” said Rashid.
“That is where we learn and we bring that experience to the national level and share that with the team. The more players go around the world and play in the leagues. I think that is what helps us, especially in the batting department.”
Afghanistan, who have a reputation for being giantkillers, has improved significantly in the Asia Cup after thrashing Sri Lanka by eight wickets on Saturday. They skittled their opponents for a meagre 105 and then scored the runs in just 10.1 overs.
“We have prepared well and we played a good game against Sri Lanka but that’s gone,” Rashid said.
“We think about taking one game at a time and give 100 per cent. It doesn’t matter if the other team takes us lightly or not, we work hard and practice well.
“For us, every opposition is the toughest opposition. Tomorrow, if we play Hong Kong, we will have the same preparation as when we play India.”