HomeCricketRashid Khan: A World-Class Talent Finally Takes Centrestage

Rashid Khan: A World-Class Talent Finally Takes Centrestage

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There is a new star ruling over the galaxy of perhaps Cricket’s most coveted ranking system: the ICC. He doesn’t possess the panache of a Shane Warne. Neither does he possess the flair of a Graeme Swann. But he does have, in fact, in abundance, is talent to change the fate of a contest, that too on his own. With humble beginnings, his has been a modest journey that has captured the attention of a cricket-going public that feeds on the quintessential “small town or city hero tale” about a talent who makes it big by sheer hard work and a penchant for rigour.
At 19, Rashid Khan is a star that is pushing Afghanistan cricket to new heights, his achievements and recent efforts rewarded well by the ICC who’ve ranked him as the number one bowler in the ODI bowling charts. No other bowler, other than Rashid, has happened to climb to the top of these monumental rankings whilst still being in the teenage years. This beckons a question. Did this Shane Warne-admirer see this coming especially hailing from a country where terror outfits disrupt civilian peace and where vast, open playing grounds are often subdued by chaos and curfew?
With 787 points, not only is Rashid Khan the top-ranked name in an outstanding list that includes names like Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, but the effervescently-smiling leg break specialist has in fact managed to outfox others including Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada. Whether it is the average cricket fan busy pursuing street cricket in tardy, narrow Indian by-lanes or a cricketing enthusiast in a Baseball-obsessed United States, Rashid’s efforts have resonated with impassioned fans who still hope to see a bowler triumph in what is increasingly becoming a batsman-skewed game.
If you happen to have followed Rashid’s relatively new career, that only began in 2015 (where white ball cricket was concerned), then you might possibly be sufficiently divided between two of his heroic efforts; each of which afforded him tons of accolades in both limited overs and T20 cricket. While on their maiden tour to the West Indies during 2017, Afghanistan mowed down a Windies that had just no answer on slow wicket at the Darren Sammy stadium where the ball didn’t come to the bat with colloquial ease. In their downing of Windies by 63 runs, it could be said, Rashid brought curtains on almost the entire team. And just what did his effort yield? 7 wickets from 8.4 overs, conceding only 18 runs, including a maiden. Another effort that catapulted the name of Rashid Khan to celebrated heights in cricket’s briefest format was his participation in the Caribbean Premier League, 2017.
During a crucial contest where Rashid Khan’s Guyana Amazon Warriors took on the then defending champions, Jamaica Tallawahs, in an eliminator. But it would be Rashid’s first-ever-T20 hat-trick wherein he cleverly outfoxed the top order, removing Andre McCarthy, Jonathan Foo and strongman Rovman Powell. It could be argued that the might willow-wielders from the Caribbean- who are just as capable of putting bat to ball as is the kitchen knife to a pile of butter- had just no answer to the cunningly devious tricks this mighty competitor from Afghanistan unbundled.  In the classical sense of the word, Khan’s action isn’t by any means smooth or slow and rather unfurls a hurried run to the popping crease in a manner that reminds one of Shahid Afridi. You are instantly reminded of a Samuel Badree in the way Khan’s bowling arm reaches the point of delivery after which a beautiful, clean follow through often results in clearly ruffling batsmen in front. The shoulder, evidently springs more effort to the point of release and since it’s a rather quick action for a leg-break exponent, Rashid’s stock delivery- the Googly- beautifully accurate that it is hardly gives batsmen any time. Resultantly, you either have the timber disturbed or a confused bat caught in front of the crease.
ICC’s Top 5 ODI Bowlers as of February 22, 2018

Players Country Ranking Wickets
Rashid Khan Afghanistan 787 86
Jasprit Bumrah India 787 64
Trent Boult New Zealand 729 113
Josh Hazlewood Australia 714 69
Hasan Ali Pakistan 711 62

Since much of the white-ball cricket played by Rashid Khan has come against associate nations with the possible exceptions of West Indies and Zimbabwe, we bring you his ODI performances against all opponents

Opposition Wickets Best bowling Economy rate
West Indies 10 7/18 2.36
Zimbabwe 37 5/24 4.14
Ireland 30 6/43 4.14
Bangladesh 7 3/35 3.70
Scotland 2 2/19 3.17
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