Rashid Khan's batting potential waiting to be tapped
Rashid Khan Shenwari, the 20-year-old superstar from Afghanistan, is known all around the world for his wonderful bowling skills. His spellbinding leg spin bowling has time and again bamboozled batsmen over the world. However, as he continues to weave his magic with the cherry in hand, Rashid Khan has also consistently made decent contributions with the willow. In fact, he considers himself to be an all-rounder.
He intends to and is ever-ready to play a greater role with the bat for whichever team he plies his trade for. During the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, he was appointed as the stand-in captain in place of the injured regular Ashgar Afghan. On appointment, the first decision he took was to promote himself to open the batting for his country! Such is the confidence he has in his abilities as a batsman.
One of the first instances when people stood up and took notice was during a game against Kings XI Punjab in the IPL. It was the first time he and his country mate Mohammad Nabi were playing together for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. He came into the crease at the fall of Nabi's wicket, who is known all over to be a big hitter but failed to get going on that day. Enter Rashid Khan, who while facing his first ball (and the last of SRH's innings), smacked it nonchalantly straight into the sight-screen
Perhaps his most important innings, keeping in mind the context of the match, came in the 2018 IPL eliminator against KKR. SRH was down and seemingly lost in their first innings with the bat. In comes Rashid Khan and makes a belligerent 34 off 17 balls to bail SRH out of the mess. Even as recently as yesterday, he scored an unbeaten 57 off 32 balls to pull Afghanistan out of a dire situation against Bangladesh.
What's particularly striking is the fact that he isn't just a blind slogger of the cricket ball. He plays proper cricket shots and has few times played outrageous strokes, which even the greatest of batsmen would fail to match.
Thus maybe it's time we recognize his potential with the bat. Not just for Afghanistan but Rashid plays for a host of franchise teams across the globe. Comilla Victorians, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Quetta Gladiators, Sussex, Adelaide Strikers - the list doesn't seem to end.
Even if one of the above teams try and give him more regular opportunities to establish his credentials with the bat it would go a long way.
If it comes off, he might well become a phenomenon at the top of the order like Sunil Narine has become.
If it doesn't, well he is quite good already at what he does lower down the order.