The biggest T20 carnival is back to entertain all the cricket fans around the World. We all knew about the quality of skills displayed by the players in the IPL. Not only Indian players, but cricketers around the globe looks at IPL as an opportunity to get fame and name. It also helped many players to earn their maiden national calls.
Afghanistan took giant strides in all forms of international cricket since their first game in 2008. By taking part in a lavish league like IPL, three Afghanistan star players, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi & Mujeeb Ur Rahman, made their fans proud. In IPL 2019, again they are determined and ready to bring more joy to their personal lives as well as to their country cricket fans by playing an influential role in their respective franchises.
Rashid Khan’s rise in IPL
After his heroics for Afghanistan, Rashid Khan had been picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017 IPL edition for a whopping $1.41 million. In that season, he displayed his wizardry & bamboozled modern great MS Dhoni & Virat Kohli. He ended his debut IPL season with 17 wickets at an economy rate of 6.62 in 14 games.
Last year, his pyrotechnics went to next level as he ended with 21 wickets at 6.73 economy in 17 matches. His most memorable contribution for the Hyderabad based franchise was against Kolkata Knight Riders in last seasons qualifier-2 match at Eden Gardens. SRH was marching towards a below par total and Rashid’s blistering 10 ball 34* gave them a respectable total. Later with the ball he halted KKR’s journey and single handedly took SRH to the final.
In 31 IPL matches, Rashid Khan took 38 wickets at an economy rate of 6.68 with 3/19 being his best against KKR in 2018 Qualifier 2
After an year, another season of IPL has started but the batsmen across continents are still unable to pick his mystery. In his last T20I for Afghanistan against Ireland last month, he took a fifer including a hat-trick. With time, he is increasing his wickets tally at a very rapid pace. It will be interesting to see how the top T20 batsman will tackle him in the IPL. His hitting abilities with the bat will be an added advantage for Hyderabad based franchise.
Mujeeb spins his magic in IPL
Mujeeb Ur Rahman made IPL headlines with the auction itself. He was the youngest player to be picked in IPL auction history. At just 17 years age, he was bought by KXIP franchise for a whopping $629,200. His base price was just $78,650.
Mujeeb’s best IPL bowling performance of 3/27 came against Rajasthan Royals. In that spell he scalped big wickets of Stokes, Buttler & Archer and deservedly won the Man of the Match award.
In R Ashwin, KIXP already got a world-class spinner in their side and yet Mujeeb’s speciality to bowl in powerplay earned him a spot in most of the Kings XI Punjab matches. Last year, his magical delivery to dismiss RCB’s captain Virat Kohli rocked the Chinnaswamy and all the cricketing circuits. He ended his first IPL season with 14 wickets in 11 matches with just 6.99 economy rate.
Nabi narrowly missing SRH’s Playing XI’s
Mohammad Nabi was part of Afghanistan’s debut matches in all the formats and still at 34 years of age, he is an integral part of Afghanistan’s core squad. He is also picked by SRH in 2017 IPL auction for $157,300. But he hadn’t played much for them. He played just 5 matches in both the seasons for SRH.
This year also, it’ll be very difficult for him to find a spot in playing XI as SRH had so many options to go with. For major portion of the season, we can expect Warner, Williamson & Rashid Khan to occupy 3 of 4 available overseas slots. Still they have Bairstow, Shakib & Guptill to choose. But on a spin friendly pitch, he is more than handy with the ball and with bat he is already a proven customer in T20 leagues around the World.
In his last T20I for Afghanistan, M Nabi scored a thunderous 36 ball 81 against Ireland which includes 7 sixes.
Another talented teenage chinaman bowler, Zahir Khan was also picked by Rajasthan Royals in last year IPL. But hasn’t played a single game and was also not retained. He also went unsold at this year auction.
But it is very pleasing to see some exciting talent from a war-torn country like Afghanistan playing a crucial role for their respective IPL franchises. In near future, we can expect more Afghanistan talent to take part in IPL and all the T20 major leagues.