Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan recently outlined his top five players in the shortest format of the game. Despite his credentials in T20 cricket, he chose to exclude himself from the list and instead opted to go with 2 Indian players, 1 South African, 1 from New Zealand, and 1 from the West Indies.
Rashid Khan chose Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Kane Williamson, Kieron Pollard, and Hardik Pandya as his first five picks if he were to make a World XI in T20s.
He termed Virat Kohli's ability to step up and perform irrespective of the nature of the wicket as one of the Indian captain's biggest strengths. Speaking to the ICC ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021.
“Doesn’t really depend on the wicket, doesn’t matter whatever the wicket is, he is someone who is going to step up and perform,” Rashid Khan said about Virat Kohli.
He picked his IPL franchise captain Kane Williamson for the sense of calm he brings to the side with his presence.
Khan proceeded to speak about AB de Villiers, a batsman who gave him a reality check when he burst onto the scene as a 17-year old in the previous edition of the T20 World Cup. He said:
“A destructive batsman. Someone who can give you quick runs at any stage, any wicket, against any bowler and he can play any shot. As a captain, you will always love to have that batsman.”
Rashid Khan opted to step down from the captaincy after the squad for the tournament was announced. Afghanistan T20 World Cup squad 2021 will now be led by Mohammad Nabi.
"They are the kind of batsmen who can do the job for you easily" - Rashid Khan on Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard
To comprise the all-rounder section of his list, he picked Mumbai Indians duo Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya. Their ability with the bat during the death overs is no mystery and while they were far from their best in the 2021 IPL, they have set a standard over the years.
Check out the entire T20 World Cup Afghanistan schedule here.
Rashid Khan noted that he would want Pollard and Pandya at the crease if the team is facing an uphill task when chasing down a total during the death overs. He added:
“These two will be my key (batters) who can chase 80-90 when I need them in the last four-five overs. They are the kind of batsmen who can do the job for you easily.”
Rashid Khan will have a chance to face off against three of his top five picks in the Super 12s stage of the T20 World Cup. Afghanistan has been drawn alongside India, Pakistan, and New Zealand, with two more entrants awaited once the qualification round ends.