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‘It gives us the opportunity to learn from the best players’: Rashid Khan on role of T20 leagues in Afghanistan rise

Afghanistan will play their next match against Bangladesh on 30th August 2022.
Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan: (Image Source: Twitter)

Afghanistan star player Rashid Khan believes that the Afghanistan players have coped up with the lack of international cricket due to the T20 leagues that are played around the globe. Afghanistan Cricket took a hit when the Taliban took over the country last year.

Many sponsors parted ways with Afghanistan Cricket and its status as a full member cricket nation was also threatened at one time because of the Taliban rulers’ stand against women’s cricket. After the Taliban takeover, nearly two dozen players shifted their base location to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to avoid travel issues.

Despite many barriers, Afghanistan Cricket has been on the rise and the T20 leagues around the globe have helped them in doing so. The Asian team does not get many international matches in the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and the matches are mainly with the lower-ranked cricketing nations. This is where the franchise T20 leagues have played a vital role in developing talented cricketers. Star cricketers like Rashid and Mohammad Nabi have emerged as sought-after names in those leagues.

The ace-leg spinner explained how the T20 leagues have allowed them to learn from the best players and use this knowledge to improve the skill sets of the youngsters within the team.

Rashid, ahead of Tuesday’s Asia Cup contest against Bangladesh in Sharjah told the reporters,  “We don’t play a lot of longer format cricket. It is about the FTP, and not in the players’ hands. We want to play a lot of international cricket, so that our youngsters can understand the environment to improve their skills. Since we play a lot of international leagues, it gives us the opportunity to learn from the best players. We bring that experience to the international team. We share that with the rest of the team.”

The 23-year-old further stated that international cricket has remained the priority for the players despite the presence of the T20 leagues.

“If there’s international duty, you have to be present. It is always first priority. We are hopeful of playing more international games in the coming years,” he added.

Afghanistan showed the world how far have they come in world cricket when they thrashed Sri Lanka in the inaugural match of the Asia Cup on Saturday (August 27). They defeated the Dasun Shanaka-led side by eight wickets.

Nabi and Co. will lock horns with Bangladesh on August 30 (Tuesday). The Nabi-led side would look to continue on the winning momentum and be the first team to qualify for the next round of the multi-nation tournament.

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