Ravindra Jadeja became the ‘rock star’ in Indian Premier League’s first edition in 2008, given that nickname by his Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne as his all-round skills took the team to the title. (FULL IPL COVERAGE)
IPL 10 has found its ‘Superstar’ in teenaged Afghanistan leg spinner, Rashid Khan. That is what his Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper, David Warner, has predicted about the bowler, who has taken the IPL by storm.
Rashid Khan has moved from the fringes of world cricket into its glitziest tournament, confounding batsmen to set up victories for the defending champions in their first two matches.
Rashid Khan’s biggest weapon is a disguised googly that left Gujarat Lions’ Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch clueless, both trapped leg before in their nine-wicket win. Gujarat skipper, Suresh Raina too fell lbw, to a leg break for a change.
VVS Laxman, Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor, interviewed Rashid Khan for the official IPL website after the win over Gujarat Lions on Sunday, hailing the teenager’s confidence and skill. He spoke about Rashid’s mystery factor.
Rashid took two top-order wickets in the 35-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening game before claiming 3/19 against Gujarat Lions, on both occasions bowling in the Powerplay overs.
Laxman revealed it wasn’t just rival batsmen who were finding it tough to decipher Rashid Khan’s variations. His compatriot and IPL teammate Mohammad Nabi too has confessed to struggling in the nets.
Even Sunrisers Hyderabad wicket-keepers are clueless.
Laxman said: “Even in the practice sessions, none of our batsmen are able to pick him. In fact, we had our wicket-keepers Naman Ojha and Eklavya Dwivedi do two practice sessions with him just to see if they were able to pick his wrong ‘uns and other variations.
“Both were a bit clueless as to which way the ball was going. I don’t want to discuss his variations because this is just the start of the tournament and we want him to be a puzzle for most teams.”
David Warner had thrown Rashid at the deep end, asking him to bowl in the Powerplay overs.
Asked by Laxman how it felt to be handed the ball in the phase when field restrictions are on, Rashid said: “He asked me to bowl in the Powerplay in the first match as well and I did a pretty decent job. I took that confidence into this game. Warner asked me to bowl freely, without any inhibitions or second thoughts. He told me, ‘Rashid give it your best and don’t worry about going for runs’. I just did that and got success.”
He added: “Warner asked me to wrap up the powerplay overs without giving away much. That kind of mindset helped me get wickets in the process.”
Next up is Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede on Wednesday.