- Afghanistan superstar Rashid Khan spoke to The Hindu this week ahead of the India vs Afghanistan test match in Bangalore
- This will be a historic test match for Rashid and his team-mates, who will be making their test debut
- Rashid Khan spoke about his love for the longer format of the game and how he has always dreamt of this day since childhood
Afghanistan white-washed Bangladesh in a 3-match T20I series last week and are now preparing to make their test cricket debut against India at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. India vs Afghanistan Test match will be a historic one for the associate nation but all eyes will be on teenage sensation Rashid Khan, who has been in brilliant form in the past few months and is arguably the best limited-overs bowler in the world.
The transition from limited-overs cricket to a 5-day test match will not be easy
The challenge for Afghanistan and Rashid Khan will be the transition from limited-overs cricket to a 5-day test match. Having played only 4 first-class matches in his career, even Rashid Khan isn’t well versed with the longest format of the game but speaking to The Hindu, the mystery spinner sounds confident that his team can surprise the audience with their ability to adapt in India vs Afghanistan Test match.
When quizzed about his earliest test cricket memories, Rashid Khan was quick to relive his childhood memories. He said, “I have loved watching Test matches since childhood. The Ashes, I would never miss watching it. I love Test cricket because it’s the ultimate test of a cricketer and I am thrilled to be finally playing a Test. We hope to translate our limited-over success into the longer version.”
It was after a decade of being associated with the ICC did the Afghanistan cricket board were granted full status in international cricket. The wait has been fairly long for the country but now that their first test is in sight, players like Rashid Khan are extremely excited to produce a good performance with the whole world watching.
The performance in 2016 T20 World Cup was the turning point for Afghanistan cricket
Speaking about the Afghanistan journey in international cricket Rashid said,”Even before I came into the squad, the seniors would aspire to get the Test status. But the biggest moment was the manner in which we fared in the 2016 World T20 in India. We gave a tough time to virtually every opponent; we were unlucky to have lost many matches but the way we played, we had it in us to sustain at the highest level.”
Currently rated the number 1 bowler in T20 cricket and number 2 in ODI’s, Rashid Khan believes that playing in the 5-day format, which actually help him improve his overall and provide him the opportunity to try out new things without the pressure of containing runs. “Test cricket is the biggest platform to improve and learn from for young cricketers like me. There is room for you to experiment with your skill-set, something that you can’t afford in T20. As a bowler, you can try out all your variations. It will make me a better cricketer, said the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler.
India vs Afghanistan Test match will not be easy for Rashid Khan and his team but the 19-year-old believes that over the past few years, he himself and the team have mentally and physically prepared for this opportunity and they can’t wait to go out on the park on June 14th and give the number 1 test team in the world a run for its money.
“It’s true that we haven’t played as much longer format cricket over the last two years as white-ball cricket, so it would obviously be challenging to adapt. The key for me is fitness and over the last few months, I have brought a lot of changes into my fitness regimen. I’m confident that my intensity level while bowling would be the same on the fifth day as it would be on the first.
Our main challenge is to switch off from the limited-over mode and turn on the Test match mode. If we can make it happen, I am confident we can compete with India,” Rashid said while addressing the complexities of transitioning from ODI and T20 cricket to test cricket
During the concluding stages of his interview, Rashid Khan also spoke about whether he rated himself as a proper all-rounder, a phenomenon the world witnessed only in the final stages of IPL 2018, where he played a couple of brilliant knocks for SRH during the final stages of the tournament. He said, “Definitely. I started off as a batsman and then the bowling took over. Even now, irrespective of the position I bat at, I consider myself as a proper batsman. Whether I bat at No. 8, 9 or 10, I always try to optimise my talent and help the team out.”
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