Rashid Khan has been part of the Indian Premier League bandwagon for six seasons now and the spin ace from Afghanistan is only getting better by the day.
After spending five seasons with Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rashid moved to Gujarat Titans this year as its vice-captain, and playing for the new franchise, Rashid has once again proved his mettle – picking up 18 wickets so far.
And ahead of the tournament’s final against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, Rashid wants to keep things simple. “My mindset is not different in the playoffs. The energy and the thought is the same throughout. But teams take it safe against me. I try to keep it tight and that helps the bowler at the other end, which increases the chances of picking up wickets,” Rashid said in an interaction. “Irrespective of whether it is a league game or knockouts, my mindset is to bowl in a certain area and I don’t try anything differently. The oppositions try to play me off safely in big games and that’s why economy-wise I bowl well. My objective is to build pressure,” he added.
The Titans, under the leadership of Hardik Pandya, have impressed in every department and Rashid admits that it’s the ‘balance’ and role-clarity that have helped the team evolve.
“It was something that helped us to get to this position, because it was clear to each and every player where my position is, where I am going to bat and he was very clear that this is going to be the situation and was fully prepared for that. There was no confusion in players’ minds on the responsibility and how I am going to play, what role I am going to play and it was clear from game one and that is why it is more important,” Rashid said.
“As a bowler, it was clear that this is my responsibility and where I am going to bowl. The balance of the team was top-class and that is how we got here. So, we never had in the mind before the competition on where we were going to reach but the thing was we have to play good cricket, we have to give 100 per cent, be well prepared for the game, train hard, practice hard and have positive mindset in the game and we have got here and we are happy with that,” the Afghan spinner said, “We will try our best to keep things simple in the final and just go there and express our talent and enjoy the game…”
The team hasn’t played at the Narendra Modi Stadium and the IPL final will be its first outing there. “We practiced a few sessions here before the IPL started. We have seen a few games here before the IPL was played and have little idea about that, but still it is a new wicket,” he said.
“As a team, we are well prepared and that is something important. We did not know Mumbai’s conditions before we played there, but still we managed ourselves quite well there and we understood and read the situation and conditions (well). It will be the same case, as a team we will try our best to manage ourselves and read the situation as soon as possible and adjust quickly.”
After months of hard work, it’s redemption time for the Titans!