Euro 2020 Special

Rashid Khan Reappointed As Captain Of Afghanistan’s T20I Team

Rashid Khan has been appointed as Afghanistan’s T20I team by the Afghanistan Cricket Board last week as cricket’s newest Test nation looks to improve its fortunes in the game over the next two years.

This will be the star leg-spinner’s third stint as captain of Afghanistan, with Rashid Khan leading the Asian side on two previous instances during the past four years. The 24-year-old will take charge of the team in February when Afghanistan tour UAE for a three-match series in the shortest format of the game.


Key player for Afghanistan

Rashid Khan made his debut for Afghanistan in 2015, playing both his first ODI and T20I fixtures against Zimbabwe. His bowling prowess came into the spotlight when he took five wickets for three runs in the second T20I against Ireland in 2017 – the joint-best bowling figures in the shortest format of the game.

Rashid Khan quickly became a worldwide sensation after his marvelous performance with the ball for Team Hyderabad in the Indian T20 League – with the ICC naming him as the Associate Cricketer of the Year. The 24-year-old’s main strength is in T20s, where he took 122 wickets in 74 T20Is for Afghanistan – the third-highest after Tim Southee and Shakib-al-Hasan.

Rashid Khan’s bowling average of 14.37 makes him one of the most effective bowlers present in the format, and he is a constant presence at the top of the ICC bowlers ranking in T20Is.


A veteran of domestic leagues

It is in the domestic leagues that Rashid Khan has been able to show his full potential.

While Afghanistan rarely get the opportunity to play against major cricketing nations like India, Australia, and England in international fixtures, the rise of domestic T20 leagues has allowed the leg-spinner to prove his talent against the best players of the world.

Rashid Khan has been the most sought-after bowler in the Indian T20 League since he made his debut with Team Hyderabad in 2017. His ability to take wickets in crucial moments of the game and his economy-rate made him a valuable player of Team Hyderabad.

After being released by Team Hyderabad in 2021, Rashid Khan joined Team Gujarat as its vice-captain for the 2022 edition of the tournament.

With 19 wickets, Rashid Khan ended the season as Team Gujarat’s highest wicket-taker. Along with Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan was instrumental in Team Gujarat clinching the title in its maiden Indian T20 League season, even acting as the team’s captain in the absence of Hardik Pandya for a game.

Rashid Khan is also a regular player in the Big Bash League and the Caribbean Premier League where franchises compete to have him in their squad every season. With 492 wickets from 363 T20 fixtures across the world, Rashid Khan is undoubtedly the top bowler in the history of the format.


Captaincy record

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has been keen to make Rashid Khan the captain of their men’s national team since the star came into the limelight in 2017. His popularity both in Afghanistan and abroad has the potential to attract more youth towards the sport in Afghanistan, which explains why the ACB was willing to overlook veterans of the sport and appoint the youngster as the team’s captain.

Rashid Khan led Afghanistan for the ICC ODI World Cup qualifiers in 2018, with the team securing a historic win against West Indies while suffering defeats to Scotland and Zimbabwe.

In 2019, Rashid Khan was appointed as the team’s captain across all three formats. Afghanistan then secured a historic 2-0 win in the two-match Test series against Bangladesh, with Rashid Khan leading the team from the front with both the bat and the ball.

Afghanistan then reached the finals of the tri-nation T20I series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, sharing the cup due to a washed-out final.

A 3-0 defeat in ODIs against West Indies brought Rashid Khan’s first stint as captain to a close, with Ashgar Afghan reappointed as the team’s skipper in all formats. Overall, Rashid Khan led the Afghanistan team in seven T20Is, with the team winning four matches.

Rashid Khan was reappointed as the team’s captain ahead of the 2021 T20 World Cup but resigned from the post just one month later citing differences with the selection committee.

With Afghanistan’s failure in T20 World Cup 2022, Mohammed Nabi has stepped down as the team’s skipper in the format, leading to Rashid Khan’s appointment. Unlike the previous stints, the captaincy is likely to stay with Rashid Khan for the next few years.




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