IPL 2024: 'Have Struggled A Bit After Injury; Hopefully Will Be Back To Being A Player I Was', Says Rashid Khan

(MENAFN- IANS) Ahmedabad, May 13 (IANS) The IPL 2024 has witnessed the return of Afghanistan's premier leg-spinner Rashid Khan to high-octane cricketing action after undergoing a back surgery last year. So far, Rashid has been building up to achieve his best self with the ball and bat, seen from him taking ten wickets and making 102 runs in his team's campaign so far.

Ahead of Gujarat Titans' final home match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday evening, Rashid spoke exclusively to IANS on his performances in IPL 2024, mindset behind acing last-ball finish against Rajasthan Royals and on leadership skills of Shubman Gill.

Q. How would you analyse your performances for GT in IPL 2024, especially considering that you were out of the eleven for couple of games due to an injury in the tournament?

A. The performance is not of that level which I have been doing for the last seven years. Definitely, this year, I have struggled a little bit, but this happens as it became very hard for me to come back and play straightaway after surgery.

But I feel I am getting better and hopefully I will be back to being the player I was. This year, I felt there were a few games where I could have done better, but it just happens and you keep learning from it.

Q. How has been the support from the coaching staff in easing yourself back into cricketing action?

A. The support from coaching staff has been great so far. The support you need as a player after coming back from injury – I have been quite happy in them giving me the freedom and support, which allowed me to not have too much pressure on myself and to just take it easy and get better match by match.

Q. Can you talk about the game against RR in Jaipur, when 40 runs from 15 balls were needed and you got GT over the line in a last-ball finish alongside Tewatia?

A. It was a kind of game where we thought that it slipped out of our hands. But in T20s, anything is possible. Last year, we didn't defend 13 in the last over and this was something I had in mind. So, I thought 'Let's give our hundred percent in chasing' and we embraced the mindset of chasing this total.

Me and Rahul had the same discussion that 'If one of us stay here and take it till the last ball, there is more possibility of chasing it'. That's what happened – we both stayed till the last over and just chased it.

Q. You recently broke a wicket-less run via the CSK clash on Friday. How was it for you to be back amongst the wicket-takers in that game?

A. I have faced situations in the IPL, where I went wicketless a couple of times in the games. But the next game does give you an opportunity to get wickets. I am not thinking much about whether I am taking wickets or not – I think more about how I am bowling and what I need to do to deliver for the team when it needs you, which is more important – either an economical spell or wickets.

So, I think about that side more than the wickets – you try your best and bowl well. If you get wickets, its great; if you don't, I don't put too much pressure on myself – I just need to ensure I enjoy my skills and cricket.

Q. As a bowler, how do you feel about these high totals in IPL 2024 and more aggression shown by batters this time?

A. As a bowler, high batting totals makes it harder – when you see scores of 250, 260 and 280 being posted by teams on TV, it gives you various challenges as a bowler. But still, the bowlers have to come out with their best – everyone is having different skills.

So, as long as you believe in your skills, that gives you a better chance to perform than the others. Though batters are doing great, we as bowlers can do better and can learn from it after being hit for runs. I am sure the bowlers will learn from this experience and will be more mature from it.

Q. Finally, how do you see Shubman Gill as a GT captain - in what is also his first major leadership role & what qualities in him stand out as a skipper on and off the field?

A. He has been great so far in the way he has led the team. He has kept things very calm inside and is someone who doesn't come under pressure very quickly in a big stage like IPL. Definitely that kind of pressure does happen to a youngster when leading the team in a big tournament, especially when people are scoring 240-250.

But he hasn't felt that and is always trying to deliver his best for the team, and give the best energy to the bowler. I am impressed by his captaincy so far and definitely he will do a great job in future as well.



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