Rashid Khan says his improved consistency for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL can trouble world’s best batsmen

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan says greater consistency has made him even more of a potent threat as Sunrisers Hyderabad push for IPL glory.

Khan, already the world’s No 1 T20 bowler in the ICC’s international rankings, was the most economical bowler in this year’s IPL group stage, having conceded just 5.28 runs-per-over.

The Afghanistan spinner has bagged 19 wickets to boot at a strike-rate of 17.6, that tally including 3-7 against Delhi Capitals – his best T20 figures and the best return in the IPL this season.

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Only Royal Challenger Bangalore’s Yuzvendra Chahal (20) has taken more wickets as a spinner in this year’s tournament and the two bowlers look set to come up against each other on Friday, when their respective franchises contest the Eliminator match.

Hyderabad vs Bangalore

November 6, 2020, 1:45pm

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Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of that clash, Khan said: “I don’t think there is any secret [to my form]; I work hard to bowl more best deliveries in a good length area.

“I have seen in old videos with my pitching I made it too easy for the batsman by pitching too short or full.

“Before the competition, I had it in my mind that I had to forget about wickets, forget about everything. I just needed to bowl and hit that area, which in this IPL I have hit consistently.

“That’s how a lot of runs haven’t been scored off me as well; that might be the reason behind my figures. I have to be really consistent with my line and length – if I am then if not a wicket, I think a dot ball will come.”

He added: “To have it in the mind that the batsman is on the back foot and is not going to charge on you then I have the advantage, but at the same I need to bowl in the right areas, otherwise anyone can smash you.

“As long as I get that right then I can trouble the best in the world. This is my belief and my mindset.”

Khan made history last October by becoming the first player picked in the inaugural draft for The Hundred – Trent Rockets wasting little time in engaging his services before the tournament was postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 22-year-old, who took seven wickets in nine Vitality Blast games for Sussex in 2019, says he cannot wait for the start of the new tournament in 2021 and is looking forward to teaming up with England Test captain Joe Root and Nottinghamshire opener Alex Hales at the Rockets.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to play under Joe Root,” he said. “As a youngster I will try my best to learn from his experience, his mindset, his preparation for the game as much as possible.

“Alex Hales is one of the most destructive batsmen; I played with him at Sunrisers Hyderabad so we have a good understanding. I’m looking forward to playing with these legends and hopefully we have a good year.”

Khan’s IPL form caught the eye of one of the all-time legends of the game last month – Indian great Sachin Tendulkar quipping that he would not mind facing the spinner in the nets to “understand his bowling” a little more.

Khan explained it would be an opportunity he would pounce on.

“I can only dream about the day I bowl to him,” he said. “As a bowler you don’t want to miss the opportunity to bowl to someone like Sachin and get his feedback.

“My brother sent me the interview and I was super excited. Forget about getting him out, I just want to bowl to him. I enjoyed my bowling when bowling to Marcus Trescothick in the Vitality Blast too.

“I was proud because he was someone who did an amazing job for England as an opener and who was very good against spin.”

Watch Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.45pm on Friday.

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