World Cup: Afghan spinner Rashid confident of bouncing back

“People forget 10 good days and conveniently remember that one particular bad day,” says Rashid Khan of the criticism that came his way after he recorded the World Cup’s worst bowling figures in a forgettable outing against England.

To top it all, there was also a mocking tweet by Iceland Cricket, a nation that is yet to find its feet in the sport. Used to being showered with accolades for game-changing performances, the ignominy of recording World Cup’s worst-ever bowling performance (9-0-110-0), against England, has been a humbling experience for the world’s top spinner.

“I am not thinking too much about that match. People forget 10 good days and conveniently remember that one particular bad day. They don’t like to remember what Rashid did on previous 10 days,” Rashid told PTI in an exclusive interview on the eve of their match against India.

Rashid is the world’s number three bowler in ODIs and tops the T20 chart. “I would focus on the mistakes I committed in that match and rectify those in the coming matches. No point thinking about the criticism. I need to keep things simple,” added the 20-year-old, putting up a brave front.

Asked if his relationship with skipper Gulbadin Naib has strained for voicing his displeasure at change of captaincy, Rashid said, “Neither do I play for Gulbadin nor for the cricket board (ACB) but for Afghanistan.”

Rashid and Afghanistan’s other superstar Mohammed Nabi had raised objections when Gulbadin replaced Asghar Afghan as the skipper for the World Cup, something that didn’t go well with the country’s cricket board. Following five straight losses, plenty of conspiracy theories are floating including Rashid’s relationship with Gulbadin.

“I think there is no problem in my relationship with Gulbadin. I support him as much as I did when Asghar was the captain. If I supported Asghar 50 per cent on the field, Gulbadin has my 100 per cent support,” he said.

He did accept that Afghanistan need to work on their bowling. “As a bowling unit, we need to do more. Yes, we have been struggling in pace bowling department. I think we need to have proper 140 kph plus bowlers. We need these bowlers in these conditions. It’s not that we will get these kinds of bowlers in a year. It will take time,” Rashid signed off.

Agency