Debasis Sen, Dubai: Afghanistan spin wizard Rashid Khan feels India will sorely miss the services of Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup. Rashid, who will lead the country’s hope in the tournament feel the going will be tough for India in the tournament without their talismanic captain. Speaking exclusively to Xtra Time, the Afghan leg spinner shared his thoughts about his journey so far, Afghanistan cricket, county stint, prized scalp, Indo-Pak clashes and more. Here are the excerpts”
XT: Do you think India will miss the services of Virat Kohli in Asia Cup?
Rashid: Definitely they will miss Kohli in the middle but the talent they have right now they can do anything. They have the talented youngsters and those players who can play well on any conditions. Kohli will be missed, he is a legend. He can play well in any conditions but looking forward to face them and hopefully it will be a good match.
XT: Indo-Pak duel on a cricket field are nothing less than Ashes. What are your thoughts.
Rashid: I think it’s always great watching those matches you know because India and Pakistan are Asia’s Australia and England. Two great competitors and I love watching them play against each other. Pakistan and India will be playing on 19th. I think it would be a big match for both the sides. Both the teams have the skills and talents. Each of them is doing well in their own department. Looking forward for the match. It is amazing as everyone is talking about that match.
XT: Afghanistan will be participating in the Asia Cup for the first time as a full member. That itself speaks volumes on Afghanistan rise in recent years as cricket nation.
Rashid: It means a lot. Being a full member we don’t need to qualify to the Asia Cup. I think this is a terrific tournament after the World Cup and Champions Trophy. Last time we played in this tournament in Bangladesh and we beat Bangladesh there, so right now we have the best talent and we just need to express them and focus on to keep ourselves calm and cool. Hopefully this will be a very good Asia Cup for the whole country.
XT: How has been your county stint with ?
Rashid: I think the county season really helped me. You know especially for the World Cup which will take place there next year. I played mostly everywhere in England in different grounds and on different pitches. So that really helped me and I needed that as well because I didn’t play a lot in the UK conditions earlier in my career. Before the World Cup it was much needed for me and for the Asia Cup as well. Performing on that stage and in the tough conditions it gives you satisfaction. And now I am looking forward to do well in Asia Cup as well.
XT: How does it feel to be described as a role model for the youngsters?
Rashid: I think I don’t need to do anything special to put pressure on myself being here. I just focus on playing good cricket, playing positive cricket and express my talent that have. So it has been good to be a player from Afghanistan who played in top leagues and to be the idol of the youngsters who are in Afghanistan playing cricket. It feels really great but the focus is on to keep it continue and not about just to reach here and stop it here. I will try my best to keep this thing continue and work hard more and more.
XT: What do you think when you bowl to a batsman?
Rashid: As a spinner I don’t think about the batsman to whom I am bowling. I don’t keep in my mind that who is the best batsman against spin while bowling. My job is just to bowl in a good area and let’s see how the batsman reacts. I just don’t change a lot to the batsman. My only target is to bowl in good length area and just mix it up for the batsman and wait and see where it goes.
XT: What has been your dream wicket till date?
Rashid: I have taken all the players wickets especially those three wickets in IPL. The wickets of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers gave me a lot of energy and satisfaction. Getting them out in that condition was a bit tough but my focus was just to work hard and go there and believe in your skills , bowl in a good length area.
XT: How important will be the Asia Cup ahead of the World Cup next year?
Rashid: It is very important for us to get used with the team. We are the full member now and we will play against these teams a lot in future and I think it’s the best opportunity for us to prepare ahead of the World Cup next year and get used to with these teams as we will face them in the World Cup as well.