How many of you Google Afghanistan in a normal situation? The question might sound silly but it isn’t as silly as it sounded. In April 2017, Google broke all the trending records, after series of a search was made for World War 3 back in April 2017 only after president Donald Trump quoted dropping “ Mother of all Bombs” in Afghanistan. I am using this paragraph rather in a strange way because that is what is the real picture that Afghanistan and its population face every day.
When I sat in my chair with a lot of colorful pictures and imagination of how a strong cricket team could be formed in a span of 16 years or so, I barely thought I would get insight to something magnificent. I, as per the instruction of my deep instinct, sat down and Googled “Beautiful Afghanistan”.
Google thankfully helped my emotions and searched around 30 million results in 0.39 seconds. I changed my tab and went inside the images section that Google searched for me. For my liking, in the 11th row of my search, I found Afghanistan written in a bold yellowish font with 2 words joined by a conjunction and (written as &) “Alone & Unafraid”.
There you go, I found my phrase to describe a champion as well as an obscure leg-spinner who is taking the whole world by storm. A color that has already colored, the faded and washed away colors of his nation, “Rashid Khan”.
What makes him special is not only his die-hard attitude but the adaptability he possesses in difficult conditions. The hard-working teen is taking the flags of his nation and attracting millions of youngsters of his nation to follow one common religion of the world, “Cricket”.
Afghanistan is turning out to be the new powerhouse of cricket.
Only in around 16 years, they have extended all the limits and boundaries to get enlisted as the Full membership (Test-playing nation) with the series of excellent performances in the associate level.
I went through the tweet of ex- Australian middle order batsmen and flamboyant character, Dean Jones(@ProfDeano) about Rashid Khan summing up his experience about the backyards and streets of Jalalabad where Rashid khan started his early cricketing career.
It made me feel to read about Rashid and other Afghanistan stars like Mohammed Nabi who is equally responsible for the upholding of the status of cricket attracting millions of them to follow the pride they are bringing to their nation.
Rashid is a story of a self will that wants nothing but the best for his nation. Each and almost every day, People in his country faces suicide bombing, blast of to shooting innocent civilians in the name of war against ISIS.
Yet, to have courage by taking security guards around and departing from near and dear ones for several months would undoubtedly make you very strong to adopt above all the scarcities as well as challenges.
It is amazing how a positive intent and a hunger to be at the top of his game have brought an unknown 17 years old Rashid Khan to become the best sportsmen of Afghanistan currently. Less than a month after his 17th birthday, Rashid Khan made his ODI debut in October 2015 which is just 3 years back. Also, just 1 year back, the precocious leg spinner (as stated by www.espncricinfo.com in their section of his profile) fetched a mammoth INR 4 Crores (US$ 597,000) making it the highest ever bid for an associate player when he was picked up by Sun Risers Hyderabad.
The jersey numbered 19 in his back of his national T-shirt, have a pair of expressive eyes that expresses a sheer joy that he has while playing the fascinating game of cricket. The other signature he has is his chewing gums that help this teen sensation dismantle a lot of batsmen in the opposite end of the 22 yards all around the world.
He also has got a unique celebration by giving just a glimpse of appeal, as he is almost sure of success every time once his zippy wrong ones at a speed of 97 Km/hr strikes at the pad of his opponents. He just takes off in a flash for the celebration and most often his senior mate Mohammed Nabi from sleep cordon is the 1st one to catch his speed of celebration.
Some of his glimpse could be seen in YouTube about the destroyer his deliveries could be once he gets going. Its first glimpse was seen in the ODI series against the west Indies back in 2017 when this mystery spinner rattled down the top as well as a middle order of West Indies in their backyard with an astonishing match figures of 7/18 in 8.4 over.
He slipped in wrong ones, leg spins, flatter ones to make a lot of batsmen discomfort facing his 52 deliveries in that match. His 1st two over game him 4 wickets and he conceded just 1 runs, with the previous over being bowled a double wicket maiden.
This was the game that did all the wonders for him and as a result he was selected to play this year Big Bash League (one of the leading cricket leagues in the world after IPL in India) as a part of Adelaide Strikers. He proved himself and there were barely any batsmen that smashed him while all other bowlers were getting hammered from the batsmen. This proves the accuracy and verities he produces whenever or wherever this young gun is playing.
As a result, the former Aussie wicket keeper batsmen and super sportsmen Adam Gilchrist has still Rashid Khan’s display picture in his twitter account as his profile picture since 8th of January 2018. This proves Dean Jones line of Rashid being the current phenomenon of world cricket.
To justify this fame and to keep the positive going for this lad and the nation of cricket lovers, ICC awarded Rashid Khan with the title of Associate Cricketer of the year 2017. Rashid Khan is a perfect example of success running after excellence.
Hence, for all those complaining about less facilities, improper cricket grounds, conditions as well as political unrest and absence of proper addressing about the game, Afghanistan Cricket and Rashid Khan are examples they could look up to.
From a nation where you could be the next target of suicide bombs as well as missiles to being one of the 12 nations in the world to get a Test status, Afghanistan cricket leads by example to all associate nations not to look for better facilities to progress rather progress and hard work brings facilities as well as branding that they need to develop personally and professionally.
Finally, Cricket is healing the wounds that war has given to this beautiful nation and warriors like Rashid could only take cricket forward under all adversities and difficult situations. ICC must look forward to all other countries as gems like Rashid could be found in most of the backyards as well as streets where better facilities and easiness are just words of text book. A color that is taking the faded nations flag with all highlighted beauties and pride, although a lot is yet to be seen.