Rashid Khan is undoubtedly one of the shining lights for Afghanistan’s cricket community. Still just 19 years old, Rashid’s performances for Afghanistan and in franchise based T20 leagues, most prominently the Indian Premier League, has made him the biggest star in the country. Rashid himself has lofty ambitions for his country. “I want to bring Afghanistan the cricket World Cup – this is the ultimate goal of my life,” he is quoted as saying by AFP.
It may not be too far-fetched an ambition. Former England captain Adam Hollioake, who coached one of the six teams in Afghanistan’s domestic T20 tournament last month, believes the country “could be top six in the world” within a decade.”I really believe the talent and passion is here in this country,” said Hollioake. That passion is largely driven now by Rashid. Such is his popularity that crowds flocked the Kabul Stadium to watch him bowl in the Shpageeza Cricket League even after a suicide blast near it. “I play cricket to bring victories for my country and to make Afghanistan proud on the world stage,” he said. In the recently concluded the T20 Carribean Premier League, Rashid became the first bowler in league history to take a hat-trick. “Now I want to play against the world’s best and to challenge the best teams on their home turf,” said Rashid.
He may get the chance to do just that as he was recently announced as Adelaide Strikers’ latest signing and will be playing for the Big Bash League side. Strikers coach and former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie termed Rashid’s signing as a “major coup.” “Rashid has set the world alight in T20 cricket with his energy, enthusiasm, and great control for a young guy,” Gillespie said. “He has some great variations, can bowl stump-to-stump and can be very hard to pick.”