The Afghan National Cricket Team’s googly master Rashid Khan on Tuesday said cricket had changed Afghanistan, adding that everyone now follows the sport.
Speaking after the announcement of the fixtures of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, Rashid said his team would give their best during next year’s tournament.
Rashid, the No.1-ranked T20I bowler, said that the young generation in Afghanistan follows the sport closely and backs the national team wherever and whenever it plays.
People back home love cricket, he said adding: “It has changed everything in the country in the last five to six years."
"The young generation … everyone's following cricket, they love it. It means a lot that Afghanistan is participating in the World Cup," Rashid said in an interview with the ICC.
He also said the players give 100 percent in each and every competition. “Everywhere, we try our best to give something to the people back home. I know what is happening, so there is nothing else that can bring such a smile on their faces."
“When I was playing in the West Indies and the time difference was too much – matches were starting at 3am in Afghanistan – my mom was waking up and watching my game and praying for me. That is really special for me,” the googly master said.
“Before the game, she was calling me and telling me to not worry, ‘just go there and enjoy yourself. Our prayers and supportare with you’. That gives you a lot of energy and motivation. It’s needed as a player.”
Rashid Khan is Afghanistan’s home-grown googly master who at 20 years old just topped the ICC’s world’s best ODI all-rounder chart.
Rashid made his ODI debut during Afghanistan's tour of Zimbabwe in October 2015, at just 17 years of age.
A year and a half later, while back on tour in Zimbabwe, the leg-spinner fetched the highest ever bid for an Associate player in the IPL Auction. Since then Rashid has been played for leagues in India, Bangladesh, West Indies, Australia and England.
Afghanistan is in Group B and has been pooled with the likes of India, England and South Africa.