Cricket has changed everything in Afghanistan: Rashid Khan

Cricket has changed everything in Afghanistan: Rashid Khan

"They love the sport, they love cricket."

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. (Photo by James Elsby/Getty Images)

Afghanistan star Rashid Khan believes cricket has changed everything in his war-ravaged nation. Well, for a country which has been plagued by terrorisms, cricket has really worked as a soothing balm, giving the mass something to cheer about. Afghanistan’s phenomenal rise in the game is nothing less than a fairytale.  They have taken significant strides since being given the ODI status in 2011. They qualified for the 2015 World Cup and won their first game in the tournament by beating Scotland.

In 2017, they drew an ODI series in the West Indies before beating the same opposition last year to win the ICC World Cup Qualifiers and made it to the main event. Last year, they also whitewashed Bangladesh in a three-match T20I series and had played their first-ever Test against India after being granted Test status in 2017. They also beat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and drew against eventual winners India in the last edition of the Asia Cup.

With the players overcoming so many hurdles to showcase their immense potential, the Afghanistan mass has been enjoying their cricket team’s success to the fullest. And Rashid made it clear that the game is adored in Afghanistan. The leg-spinner, who has become the poster-boy of Afghanistan cricket, was speaking at the fixture reveal for the 2020 Twenty20 World Cup on Tuesday.

“It feels good. People back home, they love cricket. It has changed everything in the country in the last five-six years. The young generation … everyone’s following cricket, they love it. It means a lot that Afghanistan is participating in the World Cup,” ICC quoted Rashid, as saying.

“(The fans) are loving it. They love the sport, they love cricket. (We players) just try and give 100% in each and every competition. Everywhere, we try our best to give something to the people back home. I know what is happening, so there is nothing else that can bring such a smile on their faces,” he added.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, left behind the likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to book an automatic spot in the next World T20. They are in Group B alongside, India, South Africa, England and a qualifying team.

World Cup in sight for Rashid & Co.

The upcoming World Cup in England will be a big chance for Rashid and his teammates to prove their mettle and the spinner said his team is very excited to play in the competition.

“We – me, (Mohammad) Nabi, Mujeeb (Ur Rehman) – we just try and give our best in each and every game. The World Cup will be a good experience. Can’t wait for it,” Rashid said.

Afghanistan will open their campaign against defending champions Australia on 1 June.

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