Afghanistan became the 12th nation to attain test status from the ICC. The journey of their incredible growth against all the scary situations in their homeland became an inspiring story for the budding players. Let us take a look at the growth of Afghanistan team into a formidable team in the past two years.
In June 2016, Mohammed Nabi posted a selfie with famous England cricketer Kevin Petersen in twitter and said that it was his most anticipated moment. He was fortunate enough to bowl a few deliveries to him in 2006 at MCC. A decade later, he was included in the team that toured to England in 2015. He made the most of his England tour to enhance his skills.
He recollected those cherished moments as “Pietersen reminded me of Misbah-ul-Haq’s reverse sweep and got me to take a fielder away from the leg side and bowl with both point and short third-man. We could keep Misbah quiet that way”.
Later when Nabi scored last-ball boundary to win a game at Pakistan Super League, Petersen was the first to run and congratulate Nabi. Nabi remarked that “I felt so lucky that I could get praised by own hero.”
In 2016, Nabi was asked about the situations in his country by the mentor Viv Richards, who admired his performance, when he was playing for Quetta franchise in Pakistan Super League. With other budding players of his team, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman, he decided to take suggestions from all the expert world-class players, and implement them in Afghanistan.
He said “Whatever I can learn from all the big players in PSL I can then take it to Afghanistan. I can then tell our players in Afghanistan this is what is international cricket. Because our main target is to become a Test nation.”
In 2018, a couple of days, Shivil, the spinner from India who played for Gujarat Lions was training Indian batsmen at Bangalore about how to encounter mysterious spinners on the request of Indian management. But by the performance of Afghan players, he stayed back to counsel Afghan players after completion of his duties to the Indian team.
Rashid Khan explained about his grip on the ball that makes him successful during a chitchat with Shivil Kaushik.
Shivil revealed to the press about his chitchat. “He has five different grips! He showed me all of them and it was amazing,”
There is one with the thumb, index and middle finger being dominant. There is one more where the ball is held primarily between a widely split middle and ring finger, there is one where he holds the ball with four fingers but keeps the thumb out of play, there is one where he holds it ‘seam up’. The fifth one is something that Shivil says he can’t even get a grip of.
“In no over does he bowl the ball with the same grip,”
“He’s [Rashid] had no formal coaching and he’s picked all of this right from his younger days,” he said with astonishment.
Rashid Khan picked a few words from South African spinner Imran Tahir during this IPL. Rashid Khan was regarded as the world’s greatest spinners in the limited overs format.
The journey of Afghanistan was inspiring from budding team to one of the strongest teams in these two years, regarded Sachin Tendulkar.