Ever since joining Gujarat Titans ahead of this season’s Indian Premier League, Noor Ahmad has considered Rashid Khan as his go-to-man, both on and off the pitch.
The 18-year-old hangs out with his compatriot, interacts with him in Pashto and every time Noor has difficulty in understanding anything, he makes it a point to reach out to Rashid, who he fondly calls ‘Google Khan’.
Being a seasoned campaigner, Rashid has made sure that Noor feels comfortable in the Gujarat Titans set-up, and improves his game as the tournament progresses.
So far, the young mystery spinner has not only handled the pressure, but has also claimed 11 wickets from seven matches, while Rashid’s tally has gone up to 19.
“Off the field, I tell him not to think too much at this age. I tell him to never expect lots of things and don’t be too hard on yourself,” Rashid said after Titans’ convincing win against Lucknow Super Giants.
“I keep telling him that at the moment, it is time for him to enjoy your cricket. He should just work hard, have self-belief and not think a lot. I feel at this age if you have so many things in your mind, it might distract you from your bowling. That’s the kind of discussion I always have with him…” Rashid, one of the top spinners in the world, said.
Having seen Noor closely since his formative years, the Afghan spin ace has also advised Noor to set small goals. “You just work hard and do the basics right. It doesn’t matter whatever comes out in the results. Whether you bowl good or bad, it is important to study your bowling after the game - what went right, where did it go wrong and how to do better in the next game. These are the things you work on in the nets…
“The good thing is he always listens and he always follows what he takes from me. That’s why he calls me Google. He doesn’t call me Rashid Khan, he says Google Khan,” Rashid revealed with a smile. “He tells me that ‘whatever I need, you just give me the answer for that, so you are Google Khan.’ He listens to me and he is working hard. But at the moment it is more of working on his mind and his skills and he needs to be more calm and relaxed under the pressure,” Rashid said.
Back in 2017, when Rashid made it to the IPL for the first time along with Mohammad Nabi, the two would have regular interactions in a bid to ease out the pressure. Over the last six years, Rashid has not only dominated world cricket, but has also emerged as one of the most valued players in the world of franchise leagues.
And as Noor makes his presence felt, Rashid is passing on all his knowledge to the young gun, thus emerging as his perfect ‘search engine’ - aka ‘ Google Khan’.
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