"He was there for the whole session and that was the beauty"- Rashid Khan recalls 'dream' meeting with Sachin Tendulkar during 2023 World Cup

Australia & Afghanistan Net Sessions - ICC Men
Australia & Afghanistan Net Sessions - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023

Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan recalled Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar meeting the players during the 2023 ODI World Cup, including his words of wisdom and impact on the team. With Afghanistan set to take on Australia at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Tendulkar had an extended session with the Afghan players on the eve of the match on November 6.

The Little Master also had one-on-one sessions with several Afghan players and even gave a pep talk to the squad. Tendulkar also presented a memento to veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.

Ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup, Rashid Khan recalled the memorable session in an interview with ESPN Cricinfo and said:

"That was kind of a dream for every player that he [Tendulkar] came in and gave us that time. He didn't only come for about five or ten minutes. He was there for the whole session and that was the beauty. And we have learned a lot from that experience. But what was more important for me was that he told us he admired the skills of everyone and what we had achieved, that you guys are capable of beating any side - like we did, beating England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the World Cup."

Rashid also pointed to Tendulkar sharing his insights on the Wankhede Stadium that eventually helped Afghanistan in the Australia clash.

"The advice he gave and the ideas he shared about the wicket helped not just the youngsters, but everyone. The knowledge he gave about Wankhede really helped: as a bowling unit, he said, go harder in the first five to six overs because you can take advantage of the conditions that are favourable for bowlers. For the batters, he said, take it easy in the initial five to six overs. He said it was fine to take time because once the top order was settled, we can accelerate score big runs," added Rashid.

Afghanistan stunned the Australian bowlers with a sensational batting display, scoring 291/5 in 50 overs.

However, with the Aussies on the ropes at 91/7, the Afghans blew the opportunity of a monumental win. Glenn Maxwell was put down early in his innings and made Afghanistan pay with a magnificent 201* off 128 to help Australia win by three wickets.

"Whenever I perform a little bit and a tweet comes from him, that gives me so much energy" - Rashid Khan

Australia v Afghanistan - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023
Australia v Afghanistan - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023

Rashid Khan further stated how even an appreciation post from Sachin Tendulkar on his performance is a massive difference maker and an energy booster. He also shared teammate Ibrahim Zadran's words on his interaction with Tendulkar before the Australia clash.

"Even for me, whenever I perform a little bit and a tweet comes from him, that gives me so much energy. It makes a huge difference, as it did against Australia for us as a batting unit scoring 291 against them. What was also special was he had one-on-one chats with some of our players, including Ibrahim Zadran, who scored a hundred against Australia, the next day," said Rashid via the aforementioned source.
"I asked Ibrahim after that game what he spoke to Sachin sir about. He said, "When he [Tendulkar] spoke to me, that just totally changed my mind - the way he was speaking about me, about my game, how I'm playing. And he told me his old stories. That gave me so much energy and made my mind positive about the game tomorrow," added Rashid.

Boyed by the interaction with Tendulkar, Ibrahim pummeled the Aussie attack the following day with a masterful 129* off 143 deliveries.

Rashid also had a memorable outing despite coming out on the losing side, scoring an 18-ball 35 and picking 2/44 in 10 overs.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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