Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has expressed his excitement about his country’s first-ever Test match next month, saying “I can’t wait to be called a Test cricketer”.
Afghanistan, who were made a Full Member last year, will make their Test debut against India in Bangalore on June 14.
Knowing that the special occasion is right around the corner, Rashid was quoted by Sportstarlive as saying: “It will be a big day for cricket in Afghanistan. I’m really waiting for it. I can’t wait to be called a Test cricketer. That means a lot to us.
“I don’t think there will be anyone back home not watching that game. People in Afghanistan are crazy about cricket.”
Rashid is expected to play an instrumental role in his country’s inaugural Test match due to the spin-friendly conditions in India. He added that he is constantly under pressure to perform by fans back home.
“Back home, they expect five wickets in every match from me, whether it’s a T20 or an ODI,” he said. “Even if I don’t perform in a single match, they ask, ‘What happened to you?’ There is a burden on me to do well because most of the matches I don’t do well in, we lose. However, the best thing is to enjoy yourself.”
However, Rashid admitted that it can be hard to focus on cricket at times due to all the violence that is going on in Afghanistan.
“We worry about it. In the last one month, we had about three-four bomb blasts,” he said. “We are here, trying to put smiles on the faces of the people. However, when blasts are happening, it’s just sad. We stay in touch every day with people back home. We can’t be away from them for 2-3 days, because anything can happen there.
“Earlier, people only thought negative when you said ‘Afghanistan’. Now they talk about cricket and us. That makes us a little happy. The image of Afghanistan is changing. That’s the only thing we can do wherever we are, project Afghanistan as a good country.”