Analysing the one thing in common between Rashid Khan and Sachin Tendulkar
If there's one thing thing that teams like Bangladesh and India learnt from the recently concluded Asia Cup, it is that you cannot take Afghanistan lightly. They learnt that lesson the hard way. And if there is one player we had to single out, then it has to be Rashid Khan. He was the one player who stood out on the field and led his team to incredible victories, against all odds, through his contributions in all the three aspects of the game.
And such victories mean a lot, both to the players, as well as the people of a war torn country like Afghanistan. Their team's seemingly improbable victories gives them hope. It shows them that if their cricket team can do it against all odds, then they can do it to. Most of which, are inspired by one man. Not too different from India during the 90s.
Though India's and Afghanistan's is a far fetched comparison, their stories with respect to their countries' cricket teams, aren't too different from each other. India in the 1990s was going through its most volatile period since Independence. The people were under the burden of constant political, social and economic instability. In such times, they needed someone to give them hope. Fortunately for the people, Sachin Tendulkar showed up. He took people's attention from the problems that they were facing. When Sachin Tendulkar won, the people thought they had won. They identified with him. It was just what they needed at that time.
Not too different from India's, is Afghanistan's knight in shining armour, Rashid Khan. With stellar performances with both bat and ball, he is single handedly carrying the team home. He is not only carrying his team, but also the burden of a whole nation on his shoulders. Just like Tendulkar did for India.
Though there are others like Shahzad and Nabi who also contribute immensely, but Rashid is the poster boy. What such players can do is that they can get a whole country out of trouble. Thousands of boys in Afghanistan have picked up cricket after watching Rashid Khan. And after all, sports can go a long way in restoring peace in a country.
It teaches values of immeasurable importance. It can go on to shape future political leaders who can fish the country out of trouble. It can change the face of a country in a decade. And Afghanistan are sure off to a flyer of a start as far as change is concerned.
With the World Cup approaching and Afghanistan's performance improving with every passing game, there is only one way to go for the country and its cricket, and that is up. Viewership is also bound to increase with the growing popularity of the game. More and more kids will take up the game, hoping to follow in their heroes' footsteps.
The people will have something to look forward to. And if the recent performances are anything to go by, then the Afghan team is bound to give the so called giants a run for their money, this time, with the World Cup on the line.