Never pitch the ball up, confuse the batsmen with variations. That’s Afghanistan star Rashid Khan’s strategy when bowling to big-hitters especially from West Indies, the leg-spinner revealed during an Instagram chat with his Indian counterpart Yuzvendra Chahal.
“Never pitch the ball up; they would clear boundaries with ease. I try to bowl back of a length to them. I try to take them to the back foot. They need to be confused, bowl them wrong uns’, leg spinners and mix it up. I never bowl full to them. You need to bowl back of a length,” said the former Afghanistan captain.
Rashid added that he followed quick leg-spinners like Anil Kumble and Shahid Afridi while growing up as an aspiring cricketer.
“I used to follow Anil Kumble, Shahid Afridi a lot. I always liked bowling at a fast pace. I have a quick run up also,” he said.
Rashid further heaped high praise on India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, terming him a tough opponent. Rashid knew Pant long before the Indian hit the limelight for his big-hitting abilities. The duo had a face-off during the Under-19 tri-series in 2015 at the Jadavpur University second campus ground in Kolkata ahead of the 2016 Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.
“He has every shot in the book and is one batsman who is very tough to bowl to. I remember bowling to him at a ground in Kolkata in the U-19 Tri-series,” Rashid said while praising Pant.
“He hit three sixes in a row and in the fourth ball he mistimed but only to be dropped at short midwicket,” Rashid told Chahal. “Our bowler looked helpless and put his hands on his head, yelling in Pashto, ‘now what do I do get him out?”
Despite getting so many chances, Pant still has not been able to cement his place since MS Dhoni sidelined himself from the national team post the 2019 World Cup semifinal exit.
Later, during the chat, Rashid and Chahal also picked up their combined India-Afghanistan ODI XI, featuring only four Afghan players.