Unfortunately Afghanistan’s Zahir Khan, who was bought in January by Rajasthan Royals, is out of the IPL due to an injury.
Rashid, Zadran Shine In IPL, Nabi Awaits His Chance
Afghan cricket players Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran have gotten off to a good start in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) with both standing out for their respective teams.
Rashid has been hailed by the Indian media as a key player who could tip the balance in favor of his team Sunrisers Hyderabad – especially after he picked up the man of the match title for Sunrisers in their thrilling victory over the Mumbai Indians on Thursday night.
Against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday night, Rashid once again stood out and conceded only 31 runs in 4 overs.
On Saturday night, he might not have been the best but without a doubt he played a key role.
Speaking after Thursday’s match against Mumbai Indians, Rashid said: "It was much-needed. Always need to contribute well in the team's performance. It was a good performance to restrict them to under 150. It was a good bowling effort, all the boys bowled really well.”
“Dot balls are crucial in such a short format. That was the plan to bowl as many dot balls as possible. That was the message from the management to go and enjoy yourself - that's what I did. I just try my best to bowl in good length areas and mix it up for the batsmen. As he's in his stance, I can see where he's trying to hit. Love to bowl both, the leg-spinner and the googly,” he said.
Mohammad Nabi, the other Afghan player in the Sunrisers team, is still however waiting for his chance to step up and show off his skills.
Last week Nabi said he was thrilled that the Orange Army picked him for a second year in a row.
“This just shows that they have the confidence in me, that I can do well. Tom Moody, coach of SRH has been following my game closely during the Big Bash League and ICC World Cup Qualifiers as well. That's why the management exactly knows how I'm playing, that will help me and the team during the tournament,” he said.
Meanwhile, another Afghan player who is fast making a mark on the tournament is 17-year-old Mujeeb Zadran who become the youngest ever cricketer to play in IPL.
He was bought by Kings XI Punjab this year and has so far impressed his team and fans.
Kings XI Punjab assistant coach Mithun Manhas showered praise on young Zadran on Friday after his impressive bowling - which fetched him the wicket of Virat Kohli during their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“It is not that easy to read him or pick him from his finger but as we play a lot of games against him, everyone will be ok against him,” Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder Washington Sundar told reporters at the post-match press conference in Bengaluru on Friday night.
The Tamil Nadu spinner lauded Mujeeb for having many variations such as googlies, off-spinners and carrom balls.
“I think it is pretty amazing, to be honest. To be able to bowl with a lot of variations at this age, you need to give a lot of credit to him,” he added.
But Zahir Khan, the last Afghan player who was bought in January by Rajasthan Royals, is out of the tournament due to an injury. He has been replaced by New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
Sodhi was picked from the Registered Available Player Pool list and this will be his first outing in the IPL.
Sunrisers meanwhile is top of the IPL table so far with six points while Chennai Super Kings has four points and in third place is Kings XI Punjab has two points.