The star duo of Afghanistan Cricket, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, are remarkable discovery in modern-day cricket. Both have impressed fans as well as experts of the game through an extraordinary display of quality performances.
Rashid is known for effectively using googly along with the pace to puzzle the batsmen. At the same time, Nabi is famous for adding crucial runs down the order. One wouldn’t be wrong to say that both Rashid and Nabi have brought Afghanistan Cricket on a global map. Rashid is currently ranked No.1 in ICC T20I bowlers rankings whereas Nabi is the No.1 T20I all-rounder.
The pair increased their fan following when they were bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction for a sum of INR 4 crores and 30 lakhs, respectively. Rashid finished that debut season of the cash-rich league as the sixth-highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps in 14 matches.
But how did SRH manage to get the Afghan duo on their side?
Well, Shrinivas Chandrashekaran, the Performance Analyst of Sunrisers, recently revealed an interesting story. During the chat with sports commentator Arun Venugopal on his YouTube channel ‘Gethist Creative’, Chandrashekaran said that SRH had begun the process of including Rashid in the side when they saw his performance in the 2016 World T20. Nabi, on the other hand, caught the eye during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
“It was during the World T20 in 2016 that we first watched Rashid Khan closely. You could see that there was something different about him. He had a good game against England in Delhi. There were [good] performances during that World T20, and we kept following him,” Chandrashekaran said.
Chandrashekaran stated that Rashid’s ability to spin the bowl at a decent pace along with his top-quality fielding skills impressed them.
“Whatever games he was playing, he would run through oppositions. So the curiosity about him increased. The pace at which he bowled was a lot different to what a normal leggie would bowl, and the way he could finish games and his fielding was top class,” the analyst added.
Chandrashekaran had also worked with Nabi in the BPL as they were both parts of the Chittagong Vikings. In the same league, Rashid was a part of Comilla Warriors. But when the Warriors lost seven games, he suggested Rashid’s name to the Warriors’ coach.
“Rashid was part of the Bangladesh Premier League as well. Mohammad Nabi was part of Chittagong Vikings like I was and Rashid was playing for Comilla, which was led by Mashrafe Mortaza. Rashid didn’t play the first seven games as they went with Imad Wasim.
“However, they had lost all the seven games. Once their seventh game was over, I had a discussion with their coach. That’s when I suggested that they could play Rashid and see if he could make a difference,” revealed Chandrashekaran.
Chandrashekaran further added that initially Sunrisers were confused between Imran Tahir and Rashid, but he gave an example of Bangladeshi pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who was picked by SRH in 2016, saying that they have tried a youngster in the past and that decision went well, so Rashid should be given a chance over Tahir.
“Experience vs a young rookie – that was a call we had to take. But then we thought that in 2016 we had picked up Mustafizur Rahman and he turned out to be a sensation, so it kind of allowed us to give it a go with someone like Rashid, who is different,” Chandrashekaran concluded.