Pune: Ever since he has risen on the international scene, Rashid Khan, just like his wickets tally has kept adding to the number of his admirers. It is not just high profile scalps like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and MS Dhoni he has earned this IPL, he has earned praise from former greats like Sachin Tendulkar, who expressed that Khan is currently the best bowler in T20 format.
On Friday, he single-handedly guided Sunrisers to a victory over Kolkata Knight Riders with his all-round show: firstly a cameo of 10 balls 34, then picking up three wickets for 19 runs and in the field affecting a run-out and taking two catches. He then once again won the hearts of the fans by dedicating his man-of-the-match award to people who recently lost their lives in a bomb blast in his country.
The world then showered the 19-year-old star with love and respect up to an extent that fans in India demanded that he should be awarded an Indian citizenship, probably keeping in mind that India host Afghanistan for the latter’s first ever Test match starting on June 14.
A high profile intervention
The ever growing demand of Indian fans didn’t go unnoticed as Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in her witty style responded, “I have seen all the tweets. Citizenship matters are dealt with by Ministry of Home Affairs.”
Although, she later deleted her tweet, it was that point when Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had to intervene to keep their prized possession safe. “Afghans take absolute pride in our hero, Rashid Khan. I am also thankful to our Indian friends for giving our players a platform to show their skills. Rashid reminds us whats best about Afg. He remains an asset to the cricketing world. No we are not giving him away. @narendramodi,” he tweeted addressing PM Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to respond to the tweet by his Afghan counterpart which would be interesting to see.
Come Sunday, when the 19-year-old star will step out donning the orange jersey of Sunrisers Hyderabad, the cricketing fans will be in a dilemma which side to choose i.e. the eternal favourite yellow of MS Dhoni or the orange of the rising star Rashid.
Whether he will lift the coveted trophy at the Wankhede Stadium or not, remains to be seen but one thing is sure, he has won the millions of hearts and will continue to do so. The new cricketing superstar has risen.