It will be less than 32 hours when first Afghan players – Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan – enter the field in the most-attended cricket league in the world: Indian Premier League.
They have already donned the jersey of their team Sunrisers Hyderabad who are defending champions and who will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in first match of the tournament at 6:00p.m. Wednesday (Afghanistan Time Zone).
All-rounder Nabi and Rashid Khan, who is viewed by the team as X-factor, have said that they are ready for the competition.
“It is an honour for both of us to have been selected in the IPL. When I was picked by the Sunrisers, my joy knew no bounds. It is a very big achievement;. it’s a huge moment for Afghanistan cricket. It is a dream come true for me to be a part of this league,” Mohammad Nabi who was picked at $30,000 said, as quoted by official IPL website.
“I have always wanted to play this tournament and I would often wonder how it would feel to be a part of the IPL. That dream is now a reality and here I am in Hyderabad read to fulfil my dream. We as a nation and individual have worked hard to get here and it is time for us to make this IPL an enriching experience,” Rashid Khan who was bought at $600,000, eight-fold his base price, said.
He said that it will be a learning curve and he was looking forward to working with Muttiah Muralitharan (bowling coach and mentor) as well as high-profile cricketers like Yuvraj Singh, David Warner and Kane Williamson.
“I can learn a lot by sharing the dressing room with such legends of the game. Hopefully we can take a lot of positives from this tournament and take it back home in Afghanistan and become better cricketers,” Rashid who can bowl leg-break googly said.
Nabi sees the tournament as an opportunity to learn how to handle pressure.
“It is an opportunity for both of us to observe the big players from close quarters and see how they handle pressure situations. This is going to be a huge learning curve,” he said.