Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, who starred with bat and ball in his country’s whitewash of Ireland, stated that he no longer sees himself as just a bowler and is keen to take his batting to a level where he can be considered a ‘proper all-rounder’. Rashid, versus Ireland, posted scores of 48 and 55.
At 22, Rashid Khan is already on the path to go down as one of the greatest bowlers of his generation, but, like many great cricketers, the Afghanistan man always finds a way to contribute in other ways. Rashid is a gun fielder but what is also evident is that he is a prodigiously gifted batsman with raw talent.
The 22-year-old has showcased his ability with the bat over the years playing vital cameos across franchise cricket, but in the recently concluded ODI series versus Ireland, which Afghanistan won 3-0, the leg-spinner played back-to-back match-turning knocks - 48 (40) and 55 (30) - which suggested that he was no longer just a specialist bowler who can swing the bat.
A batting average of 20.57 after 58 ODI innings suggests Rashid is no mug with the bat, but the 22-year-old is keen to take his three-dimensionality to the next level. On the back of his exploits versus Ireland, Rashid has claimed that he, in the future, wants to become a ‘proper all-rounder’ who contributes equally with bat and ball.
''Exactly (I see myself as an all-rounder). I said earlier that I started my career as a batsman. But later I worked more on my bowling. I am working on my batting now and I have got areas to improve on and I want to be a proper all-rounder in future,'' Rashid was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
''When the team needs me I have to deliver. At the end when we need 40 or 50 runs then you have to stand up and deliver for the team. Yes I am considering myself as a proper all-rounder and whenever I get an opportunity, doesn't matter if I come at number eight or number nine, I just need to have that mentality that I have got skills and talents and I have to just go and express that.”
As recently as the second week of January, Rashid was playing in the Big Bash League for the Adelaide Strikers, but then made a quick transition to 50-over cricket in no time and starred with the ball for Afghanistan, bowling the important overs and breaking partnerships. A quick turnaround of formats can be tough for bowlers, but the leg-spinner insisted that, regardless of the format, he sticks to a simple ‘line and length’ plan that yields him results.
''I don't think I have to change my mindset because mostly I am bowling at the end of the innings, when teams and the players are going after the bowlers and they want to score runs,'' said Rashid, when asked about the format transition.
"You will see that I am bowling my last four overs in last 10, and at the same time I am bowling short spells of about two-three overs. I don't think like it's a T20 or ODI, I just try to keep it simple for myself. I know my plans and I know my line and length matters whichever format I am playing, because as long as you are bowling your best delivery it is the best in any format.”
Despite having been on the circuit for no more than 5 years, Rashid is one of the very few cricketers who has participated in almost every T20 league in the world. The 22-year-old claimed that exposure to different venues and conditions in franchise cricket helps him a great deal in international cricket.
"It helps you as a player because you know I played in CPL and in Big Bash; different wickets and different conditions and then I played here in the UAE and I already played in the IPL... you know a bit of the condition but at the same time you got to have that hard, so that whenever the team needs to play ODIs and Tests and T20, I am around.”