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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Rashid Khan hopes Maratha Arabians' Afghan connection can light up T10 League

Hazratullah Zazai and Najeeb ullah Zadran alongside Rashid in Arabians squad for tournament that starts Wednesday in Sharjah

Rashid Khan starred for Kabul Zwanan during the Afghanistan Premier League held in Sharjah in October. Satish Kumar for The National
Rashid Khan starred for Kabul Zwanan during the Afghanistan Premier League held in Sharjah in October. Satish Kumar for The National

Rashid Khan is confident the Afghan connection between himself and Hazratullah Zazai can help make Maratha Arabians contenders for the T10 League title.

Neither Rashid nor Hazratullah played in the inaugural edition of the 10-over competition in Sharjah last year.

Back then, Rashid, was well on his way to global stardom, playing a lead role in Australia’s Big Bash League, before going on to be feted as the best short-format spinner in the sport by Sachin Tendulkar at the Indian Premier League.

Hazratullah was then largely unknown beyond his own borders in Afghanistan. That all changed, however, when he hit six sixes in one over in a match in the Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah in October.

The fact he had already proved his worth by hitting the only century in that competition, as well as that it happened it at the same venue as where the T10 League, which starts on Wednesday, will played meant he was suddenly highly sought after.

Although neither Rashid nor his young colleague have had any experience of T10 cricket as yet, Rashid is confident they can thrive.

“It is a totally different format, my first time to be playing the T10 format, and it is totally different cricket,” Rashid said.

“I think it will be very entertaining. We have a very good side. I think it will be a game in which everything will happen very quickly.

“The smarter and clever you are, the more you will perform. Hopefully we will have a good year.

“We have a good balanced team, and with three players from Afghanistan. Hazrat is here, and Najeeb [ullah Zadran].

“We have Kamran Akmal, DJ Bravo. Everyone is very good. It is 10 overs and only one or two batsmen can change the game for you.

“Everyone should contribute. Whoever gets the chance should try to go and finish the game, and try 100 per cent.”

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Maratha Arabians already have enviable power with the bat in the form of Hazratullah, Alex Hales and Akmal, but Rashid believes they could even learn a thing or two from their high-profile coaching staff.

Wasim Akram is back in charge of the franchise for a second season, while Virender Sehwag has moved into a coaching capacity after being the lone India player involved last season. Rashid is excited about the prospect of working with both.

“I am surprised and happy to be with this side, because there will be lots of things I will be able to learn from them, and get their experience,” Rashid said.

“Someone who has been called the ‘Sultan of Swing’, and who has played all over the world, I will try my best to grab that experience from him.

“Especially Sehwag, the way he was in batting for India was superb. The job he has done, I think he knows better [than anyone] how to start the innings, from how he has done in the past for India.

“It will only be a short time, but I am hoping to learn as much as I can.”