IPL 2017: Grew up watching Shahid Afridi and Anil Kumble, says Afghanistan star Rashid Khan

The teenager believes his captain Mohammad Nabi and himself can set an example for youngsters in Afghanistan.

Shahid Afridi
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi seems to Rashid Khan's idol Reuters

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan revealed his idols are Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Indian leggie Anil Kumble and that he had improved his ability with the ball by watching videos of the two legends.

The 18-year-old has taken Indian Premier League 2017 by storm with six wickets in just three matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Ever since he was picked up for $600,000 by the David Warner-led team in the IPL auction earlier this year after an intense bidding war, the expectations on the teenager was sky high and he has repaid the faith his team had on him with early-season performances.

Notably, Rashid became the first Afghanistan player to play in the cash-rich league in India when he made his debut for SRH in the tournament opener on 5 April. After claiming a couple in the match, the wrist-spinner won the Man of the Match award in his very second outing in Hyderabad colours after making light work of Gujarat Lions batsmen, including Twenty20 stalwarts Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch, on 9 April.

"Yeah, I like him [Afridi] and grew up watching his bowling and that of Anil Kumble. Both were good legspinners and were quick through the air, so I was always watching their videos and learning from them," Rashid said, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Batsmen in the ongoing IPL season have been struggling to pick his variations as the young bowler has a quick arm action, just like his idol Afridi. After setting the international stage on fire (53 ODI wickets at 16.69 and 40 T20I wickets at 13.82), the SRH teenager believes that his teammate Nabi and himself can set an example for passionate youngsters back in Afghanistan.

Rashid Khan
Rashid is handy with the bat as well Reuters

"Being a youngster, it is always good to perform. It is a great message to all the youngsters back in Afghanistan that if you work hard and believe yourself, you can reach wherever you want to," Rashid added.

"So it is a good example for all those youngsters who have just started playing cricket. They should believe in themselves, and not think that it is Afghanistan and nobody is watching me. If you play well and work hard, you can achieve everywhere."