Cricket

‘Rashid, Mujeeb have to continually evolve’

Coachspeak: Phil Simmons is of the view that playing in various leagues is of immense benefit to Afghanistan’s cricketers.

Coachspeak: Phil Simmons is of the view that playing in various leagues is of immense benefit to Afghanistan’s cricketers.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Coach Simmons confident that duo will not be found out

Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League, English County circuit and Afghanistan’s international assignments. You name the tournament and the unorthodox spin duo from Afghanistan, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, has featured in them all over the last year. Yet, Afghanistan head coach Phil Simmons is confident that the two young spinners will not be found out by opposition batsmen.

“The only way you can get overexposed is if you stand still. If you keep evolving and keep improving your game and if you keep making sure you are making sure you are ahead of the batsmen around the world, you are not gonna be caught,” Simmons, the former West Indies all-rounder, told The Hindu ahead of Afghanistan’s Asia Cup opener versus Sri Lanka.

“It’s up to them to continually evolve and make sure they have new things so that batsmen have to come up with new ways to play against them,”

In fact, Simmons feels the duo has been immensely helped with the exposure he has got so far. “For me Rashid’s biggest thing is the difference in his fitness and mental approach since he went to CPL. He looks like a total athlete now fitness-wise.

“And his mental approach has always been strong, but now it is about sitting and assessing what I have to do and where I have to go,” he said.

“Mujeeb has come back from that county stint and you can see he’s different in the way he’s thinking about his bowling and its impact on all aspects of his game, even his batting.”

Having emerged on the global stage a decade ago from a war-torn nation, Afghanistan cricket has come a long way. Despite being rolled over by India in two days on its Test debut, Afghanistan is now expected to at least compete, if not win, against all top sides in the world. Can the players cope up with the pressure?

“I think one of the nice things about the Test is that the players now understand the gap between them and India.

“They know how hard we have to work to be able to get there and that has been an enormous help in how these guys train and how much it serves them to get them better.

“They know, this is where we are and this is how we need to work hard to be able to get there,” Simmons said.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 8:10:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rashid-mujeeb-have-to-continually-evolve/article24962344.ece

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