Rashid Khan: From tennis ball cricket in Afghanistan to earning Rs. 4 crore in IPL

Hailing from a country that's torn by terrorism, Rashid Khan's journey in cricket has been incredible so far. When Afghanistan qualified for the World T20 in 2012, he was playing tennis ball cricket. He recently became the youngest to take 50 ODI wickets. After brought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs. 4 crore, he's set to make his IPL debut.

“It was never easy to play cricket to start with as there were very few grounds back home and the conditions so different and difficult,” recalled Rashid Khan.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Rashid Khan hails from Jalalabad, the hotbed of terrorism back home in Afghanistan. This leg-spinner’s journey has been incredible so far — battling all odds to script his own piece of history — recently he became, at 18 years and 185 days, the youngest to claim 50 ODI wickets.

“It was never easy to play cricket to start with as there were very few grounds back home and the conditions so different and difficult,” Rashid said in an interaction with the media on Monday.

“When Afghanistan qualified for the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka, I was playing with a tennis ball in my hometown. Then, I dreamt of playing for my country,” he recalled.

“Thanks to my family members’ (he is one of the seven brothers and four sisters in his family) complete support and the Afghan Board I could realise that dream,” said.

“Now, the situation is different back home with more facilities. Yes, we need to play more international cricket to produce more and more cricketers."

Rashid, who was brought by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for Rs. 4 crore in the 10 edition, said when the IPL auction was on, he was watching it with bated breath. And, when he saw World No. 1 ODI bowler Imran Tahir going ‘unsold’ in the auction, he doubted his chances.

“Yes, after seeing that and then getting picked up by Sunrisers is a huge and pleasant surprise. I was honestly thrilled for IPL is the biggest platform in T20 cricket to showcase your skills. Playing with and against the best players in the world,” Rashid said.

“It is a wonderful feeling to share a few words about my own game with such greats, like (SRH) mentor V. V. S. Laxman, Muthiah Muralitharan and coach Tom Moody. I am all excited to share the dressing room with some of the greatest players in contemporary cricket."

“Eagerly looking forward to get a few tips in bowling from someone like Muralitharan to be a better bowler."

“Honestly, I am lucky to be part of IPL. We (he and his teammate Mohammad Nabi) have come a long way to reach this stage after a lot of hard work and facing lots of difficulties."

“After being picked up by SRH, there is lot more energy and the zeal to do really well. I always believe once you start enjoying, you will performer better,” he added.

“Well, there are no celebrations yet with my family members after being picked for this IPL as I am away from home for more than three months because of cricket. But, it will surely be a very special one when I go back home,” he said.