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All eyes on Rashid Khan as Afghanistan and Bangladesh prepare to clash in Dehradun

988   //    02 Jun 2018, 18:58 IST

UAE v Afghanistan - ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier
Rashid Khan has been hogging most of the limelight in the build-up to the T20 series

As Afghanistan and Bangladesh gear up to clash in the three-match T20 series which is to be played in Dehradun, Afghanistan's adopted home for the time being, Rashid Khan is hogging most of the limelight. The leg-spinner bagged as many as 21 wickets in the recently concluded IPL and became a household name in India overnight.

Naturally, the 19-year-old star becomes the most important of the 22 players who will take the field tomorrow for the first T20I. Another superstar in the mix, one who was Rashid's teammate in the IPL but will now face off against him as captain of the opposition, Shakib Al Hasan, was all praise for the youngster.

"He is the number one ranked bowler in the format, and that shows how good he is. He will obviously be a threat for us," said the Bangladesh captain. 49 wickets in 30 T20I matches with a five-wicket haul, the leg-spinner has everything one needs to be a match-winner.

However, the Bangladesh captain is wary of the threat which other spinners in the Afghan line-up pose. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi are no pushovers and though the former is short on experience, his IPL performances showed that he is destined for bigger and better things in the sport.

"The same goes with all the other bowlers they have in their team. Hence, both the teams need to play to their potential to win the matches. We will try our best to do well in batting, bowling, as well as fielding," Shakib cleared.

The Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai, on the other hand, was of the view that Rashid's IPL outing will only help in improving Afghanistan cricket in the long-run.

"As you all know, Rashid Khan played really well in the IPL. It is a really good thing for us. When Rashid comes in and shares his experience with the youngsters who haven't got that level of exposure, it'll be beneficial for the team in the long run," Stanikzai said.

The T20I series, which precedes the historical Test match Afghanistan will play against India in Bengaluru, is set to be a battle of spinners and Rashid Khan is the clear favourite.

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