Rashid shrugs off second-season blues

The Afghanistan leggie made a strong comeback to walk away with the Man of the Match performance for his effort of 4-1-11-2 and help Sunrisers comfortably defend a paltry total of 118 against the defending champion Mumbai Indians.

A file photo of Rashid Khan.   -  AFP

Second-season blues. That has been a syndrome that most sportsmen suffer from. Those who are unaffected by the phenomenon usually stand out from the rest and end up being success stories in the long-run.

When Sunrisers Hyderabad took the field at the Wankhede Stadium, the onus was on Rashid Khan, the Afghanistan leggie, who had seen virtually everything going his way for the last 12 months, to prove that he was far more than being a one-season wonder. Despite having faced the brunt from the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Chris Gayle in the last two outings, Rashid made a strong comeback to walk away with the Man of the Match performance and help Sunrisers comfortably defend a paltry total of 118 against the defending champion Mumbai Indians on Tuesday night.

Read: Rashid spins out Mumbai Indians

No doubt the sticky pitch at Wankhede Stadium was to aide Rashid. But the fact that he was going to bowl with dew making its impact, and more importantly on the back of having conceded a whopping 104 runs in his previous eight overs, it was incredible to see Rashid ending the night with figures of 4-1-11-2.

A smiling Rashid conceded that the onslaught he faced against the Chennai Super Kings and the Kings XI Punjab was important in developing himself as a bowler. “Jab tak aapko maar nahi padi hai, tab tak aap seekh nahi sakte (You don't learn as a bowler until you are hit for runs),” he said, in Pasthon-accented Hindi.

“I am learning lot of things from it after giving 55 and 48 (49) in the last two games. It wasn’t expected from me but for my future, it was good because I learnt from that. What I should have done that time, that’s what coaches told me.

"Everyone, especially Murali sir (bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan), Tom Moody and VVS Laxman, we had a good chat before this game and the only thing was to be positive. Some bad days happen in a player’s career and you learn from that, try not to repeat from that. That’s what I was doing today, got the basics right and you can see the result.”

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After pitching the ball in the arc of the big burly Gayle, Rashid showed that he is a quick-learner. He didn't let the monotonous Hardik Pandya wage the long handle by shortening the length and it resulted in his last over, the 17th of the innings, being a maiden. “I bowled a little bit fuller in the last two games which didn’t help me and I was punished. The only thing today was to bowl in a good-length area as much as possible and that’s what helped me bowl with good figures. The only thing was line and length, that’s what I have worked on and it’s a positive,” he said.