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Rashid Khan longs for more Test opportunities for Afghanistan

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NEW DELHI: Star Afghan spinner Rashid Khan longs for opportunities to play Test matches against top teams but is content plying his trade in franchise cricket until that happens, the 23-year-old told Reuters on Friday.

Rashid has played all five of Afghanistan’s Tests since the country was granted full membership of the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2017.

They were scheduled to play a one-off Test in Hobart in November but Cricket Australia postponed the match citing uncertainty over the future of women’s cricket under Afghanistan’s Taliban rule.

Rashid lamented missing out on an opportunity to Test his craft against the likes of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.

“As a player, it disappoints you because you always wait for opportunities to play big teams,” the leg-spinner, currently playing for Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League, told Reuters by telephone.

“It’s about improving your cricket and learning new things.

“We all were looking forward to it but sometimes things do not go your way. I hope we get the opportunity to play them soon.”

A sought-after name in Twenty20 leagues across the world, Rashid knows playing Test cricket was imperative to grow as a bowler.

“You want to bowl long spells to learn more about your bowling. I do hope we get the opportunity in the next few years to play more Test matches.”

Rashid has set alight franchise cricket in India, Australia, England, West Indies and Pakistan with his feisty leg-spin and believes the experience would stand him in good stead even in Tests.

“Wickets and conditions vary from country to country. You have to think differently and that adds something extra to your game,” he explained. “That experience makes you mentally very strong. It has helped me a lot.”

Apart from being an agile fielder, he is also an aggressive lower-order batter which makes him an asset in franchise cricket.

“I think I can be a much better batsman than what I am now,” said Rashid, who launched his merchandising brand ‘RK 19’ earlier this week.

“I should be someone taking more responsibility in that department as well. I keep working on my batting.

“In the last couple of years, there’s more expectation from me in that department that I can deliver crucial 20-25 runs with the bat.

“I know I have the skill and talent to deliver that, it’s just about bringing that confidence in you that you can deliver.”

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2022

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