Two IPL teams rejected Rashid Khan before SRH picked him in IPL 2017
Rashid Khan came to the limelight in just two years time.
Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan is considered as the most valuable spinner in limited-overs cricket at the moment. With Afghanistan making Test debut against India on June 14, all eyes will be on the 19-year-old spinner on how he creates impact in the longest format of the game. Rashid already grabbed the limelight in top T20 leagues like IPL, BBL.
But, all was not well for Rashid Khan exactly two years ago. He used to play against the associate teams back in 2016. He was a force to reckon with right from the start of his career. Former Afghanistan head coach Lalchand Rajput narrates the story of how two top IPL franchises neglected Rashid back in 2017.
“When I began coaching the Afghanistan team, I was introduced to this impressive under-19 spinner Rashid Khan. He was naturally talented. His arm speed was very fast and his bowling style was different.”
KXIP said NO
Rajput was appointed as Afghan head coach in June 2016. After seven months of his tenure, Rajput thought of introducing Rashid Khan to the mega T20 tournament IPL. His first call was to Virender Sehwag, who said NO just because of the KXIP said having Axar Patel in the squad and Sehwag was looking for good all-rounders at that time.
“After six to seven months, when I thought he was good enough to play the IPL, I called up a few people. I called up Virender Sehwag and told him there was a talented leg-spinner and since Kings XI Punjab did not have too many spin options, Rashid could be a good choice for them. Sehwag said KXIP had have Axar Patel.. ‘We don’t need spinners, we need all-rounders,” said Rajput to India Today.
KKR said NO
After kXIP rejected Rashid’s offer, Rajput was quick to call KKR camp, who were reluctant to pick the leggie as their squad already had Sunil Nairne who was brilliant with the ball for KKR throughout his IPL career, “I also called up Gautam Gambhir (then captain of Kolkata Knight Riders). I knew they had issues with Sunil Narine at the time with uncertainty around his action. He refused and said ‘We have Narine and Kuldeep Yadav’,” Rajput added.
SRH said YES
With Sehwag and Gambhir not in Rashid’s favour, Rajput had one good option left and that was VVS Laxman‘s SRH. He insisted VVS to keep a good eye on the youngster and take a further call on whether to pick it not. VVS did the same and eventually picked him in IPL 2017 Auction, “I told him if he did not want to pick him straightaway, he should at least just keep a watch on Rashid. I told him that I had seen him bowl. My argument was he was quickish and could be a force (to reckon with) in India in April and May.”
“Laxman kept following him in our I Cup and other T20 matches and ultimately picked him. He took a chance and the rest is history. Today we regard Rashid as the best spinner in the T20 format,” he said.
In just two years span, Rashid took 38 wickets in 31 games with a brilliant economy rate in the cash-rich league. He’s SRH’s go-to option whenever they are in trouble and he delivered in almost each and every time, which makes him best in the shortest format of the game.