It’s difficult to imagine that within the space of five years Rashid Khan went from relative obscurity to achieving international fame and adulation. He burst on to scene during the 2016 T20 World Cup held in India, and hasn’t had to look back since then.
However, the one incident that truly changed his career as well as his life was when Sunrisers Hyderabad picked him up in the auction just before IPL 2017. Not only did the Afghan youngster make an instant name for himself in the league, he has scaled the highest heights and is now widely regarded as among the greatest spinners in the history of T20 cricket.
Speaking about his career before the Indian Premier League, Rashid Khan said, “There wasn’t a lot of exposure back then, there was hardly any international cricket against the big teams, and it was only during the World Cup or Asia Cup that we got a chance.”
The 22-year-old called his debut season in the IPL as the turning point of his career. Since then, he has gone on to pick up 85 wickets in 69 IPL matches and has an average economy rate of just 6.23 – the best in IPL history.
“In 2017, when I came to the IPL, my cricket changed a lot, be it fitness, skills, or just the mental side of things. I didn’t have much idea about what the big players thought of me. At SRH, I got to speak with Tom Moody, VVS Laxman, and Muttiah Muralitharan. Once I got to know what they thought of me, it felt good. It’s an important aspect, it really motivated me,” Khan said during an episode of ‘Cricbuzz- In conversation’, a show hosted by Harsha Bhogle.
The Afghan spinner also shed light on the presence of big stars and established cricket players around him which helped him develop his game better. Rashid has played alongside several modern legends of the sport such as David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Kane Williamson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, among others.
“I became a different bowler after that IPL. I played well against the big players and performed well, which made me believe in my skills.”
Khan concluded by recalling a wonderful conversation he had with Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan. Apparently, the Sri Lankan legend with 800 international Test wickets told Rashid that he possesses more skill than his own self.