Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are to lead the spin attack for the Afghanistan cricket squad in their one-off Test against India in Bengaluru, which is spurring off on June 14th. They will be joined by Zahir Khan and Amir Hamza Hotak to for a deadly combo of four.
Rashid Khan has made a reputation for himself as a dangerous threat to watch out for. Earning a spot among the world’s best spinners, he created quite a tornado in the Indian Premier League this year as a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He recently won the CEAT title for the best T20 bowler as well. The 19-year old is on top of his form and is backed by many cricket veterans who have showered him with praise. Including Kane Williamson, who led SRH to the IPL finals.
“He’s a world-class player. We have seen that in this format but it’s great that he’s going to play some Test cricket. It is a challenge for anyone but an enjoyable challenge because he’s up there with the top spinners in the game,” Williamson said.
“It’s always a pleasure to face him at the nets and against him as well in the near future. A very very good bowler but like you said, if the wicket’s responding, like any spinner that offers him a bit more. But, fantastic bowler. The full package Rashid is, it is great to have him in the side and he had a brilliant year.”
Mujeeb Ur Rahman also created a flutter in the IPL tournament as one of the youngest players to be a part of the T20 series. The 17-year old played as a part of Kings XI Punjab and made the headlines in the first few games for showing glimpses of brilliance. Although his team did not come out smoothly, he definitely created a good name for himself with 14 wickets off 11 games. As per an interview he gave to the , he had a few words to say about the upcoming Test.
“India has a good batting line-up with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, and others. I don’t bowl keeping any batsman in mind. My strategy would be the same for all Indian batsmen. I am positive and bracing for the challenge. Knowing the conditions in Bangalore will help,” he said.
The duo has taken the world by storm but they will be facing a different kind of battle this time. Being so young, Rashid has participated in only four first-class matches while the Test would be Mujeeb’s first time. They may be new to longer formats but their vibrant and passionate outlook on cricket may be the added edge to push them through this and emerge as rising stars.
Team India will be led by stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane in place of Virat Kohli. He was also full of praise for Rashid Khan and is confident about facing the Ashgar Stanikzai-led team.
“He is doing really well, especially the shorter format – T20, he did fantastic for Sunrisers, he is a quality bowler and everyone needs to accept and respect that. Afghanistan can’t be taken lightly, because in cricket and in general in life you cannot take anything for granted,” Ajinkya Rahane said.
“Qualifying for a Test is the biggest thing for Afghanistan cricket and that is good for cricket. We don’t want to take any team lightly. We just want to go out there and play with the same intensity as we do with every other team.”
All the best to both!