What's the story?
Afghan youngster and spin-stalwart Rashid Khan has decided to extend his stay with the Sussex Cricket Club and thereby will make himself available for all the 14 group-stage matches for the team in the Vitality T20 Blast event conducted for the county teams by the England Cricket Board (ECB).
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After a very successful stint at the IPL with runners-up Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rashid was summoned by Sussex to play in the T20 Blast event. However, as he had earlier agreed to feature in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), he was able to agree to terms with Sussex for just their first eight group-stage games.
Rashid has, however, now decided to withdraw from the CPL, paving the way to Sussex' title hopes by signing with them for the remaining games as well.
Rashid Khan's prolonged presence in the squad has delighted head coach and former Aussie bowler Jason Gillespie: "I'm very big on continuity when it comes to tournaments and, as a general rule, I prefer not to have players dropping in for a few games. Having said that, Rashid is the number one T20 bowler in the world and so having him in the team for any number of games would have added value - as we have already seen - but to now have him available for the whole of the group stage is absolutely wonderful." It is evident that Gillespie values the presence of the star bowler in the squad.
Rashid Khan also seemed to happy with the new decision he has made. "I had always wanted to play more than the first seven games so when I heard I was now going to be free, I asked the club straightaway if they would like me to stay for the full 14 matches. Thankfully, they also wanted me to stay," he said, explaining how the decision was made.
"I'm really enjoying my time at Sussex so far and I'm looking forward to the rest of the matches here. Let's hope we can win many of them!" he added.
The Sussex Sharks were leading in the South Group table for quite some time, after which two back-to-back losses have forced them to slump to the fourth position. However, they are still strong contenders to finish first in the table and qualify for playoffs, being just one point behind Kent who is now leading the table.
Sussex has games against Gloucestershire and Middlesex, today and tomorrow, respectively. If they win against one of these teams, they will see a boost in table position as well.Published 01 Aug 2018, 15:18 IST