I had to struggle to convince skipper Asghar to pick teen Rashid in national side in 2015: CEO Shafiq
Rashid Khan's rise to the top as an international cricket star has been quite sensational. He has made a huge impact for his side so far and even led them to World Cup qualification earlier this year. However, making it into the side was not quite easy for the youngster.
Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Shafiq Stanikzai reveals how he convinced skipper Ashgar Stanikzai to blood teenager Rashid in the national cricket side in 2015.
Talking about Rashid Khan – one man who has put Afghanistan on global cricket. What exactly would you tell about Rashid Khan – how has he developed? If you're a fan of Rashid Khan, what would you want to tell about him?
Well, a phenomenal story to be honest. The Day one I saw him – chief selector Dawlat Khan who was also his coach as well - I was in the office and he called me and said “come out, I want to show you something”. So I went out of my office and I watched a game.
It was an under-19 game, they were playing amongst each other, it was a kind of a trial game. So I asked the chief selector, “what do you want to show me?” so he told, “look around sir, and you will find out”.
Suddenly I saw Rashid Khan and he was bowling, and I asked “Dawlat, am I here just to see this?” and he said “Yes”. And we saw him, and to be honest the Day one I saw him, I fell in love with him. He joined Afganistan in the under-19 team and then I had to struggle to convince Asghar Stanikzai to put him in the national squad while we were touring Zimbabwe in 2015.
So, then we convinced Asghar to make him part of the T20 squad – not the ODI squad – we went to Zimbabwe, we lost the first game very badly to Zimbabwe. I got a call from the chief selector from Zimbabwe who was touring with the squad and also Asghar that we wanted Rashid, so, without giving a second thought, we put him in the plane; he went to Zimbabwe, and since then, he never looked back.
And I was – the Day one I saw him in the national side, I tweeted and I also posted in my social media as well, that “now the world will have number1 ranked bowler”, and that is Rashid Khan.
So, Rashid Khan is a story of Afghanistan cricket, which adds charm and charisma to Afghanistan Cricket, and that's superb; and we are really proud that we are generating and we are producing such talents like Rashid, Mujeeb, Zahir Khan, and some of the other youngsters that the world will be surprised with, insha allah, in the future. That's the system that we are running, and the talent that is coming from the grassroots – that is amazing.