ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Rashid's special gift from Kohli 'stolen'
The Afghan spin wizard found his favourite bat ... and then had it pinched by the person he'd least suspect!
Louis Cameron in Bristol
1 June 2019, 09:56 AM AEST
Rashid Khan hopes bowling isn't the only way he can contribute to Afghanistan’s World Cup tilt, but his batting ambitions have taken an amusing blow in the lead-in to the tournament.
While he's dominated limited-overs cricket with his unique brand of quick leg-spin, he has also entertained with his cavalier stroke-play, which saw Adam Gilchrist liken him to Zorro during one particularly entertaining Big Bash knock two summers ago.
Rashid, who averages 22 with the bat in ODIs and is the No.2 ranked allrounder in the world in 50-over cricket, currently has 10 bats in his kit bag and has collected willow from some of the best players on the planet.
"When you are (learning) the skills of batting, you need to have a good bat," he explained to cricket.com.au. "I got a few from (other) players.
"I got one from Virat (Kohli), I got one from Davey (Warner), I got one from KL Rahul. Those are special bats. That will help me to make some more runs in the World Cup."
But to his dismay, the one "special" piece of willow gifted to him by Kohli during this year's Indian Premier League is no longer in his possession.
After the IPL, Rashid earlier this month tested out the treasured bat in a one-day international against Ireland in Belfast in a warm-up ahead of the World Cup.
Like most of Rashid's best innings, the results were brief but spectacular.
Afghan superstar Rashid Khan has a habit of collecting great players' bats, however, one has been stolen! He tells the story... pic.twitter.com/pj97NuunFP— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) June 1, 2019
The right-hander smashed two sixes off one Kevin O'Brien over and while Afghanistan lost the game comfortably, the two strokes didn’t escape the attention of teammate Ashgar Afghan.
"When I was batting with that bat against Ireland … I wanted to hit a boundary (four) and it went for six," Rashid recounts. "I was like, 'What happened? That went for six?'
"I was trying to hit (another) one over mid-off from a boundary and it went for six. I was like, 'there is something in the bat'. I loved the bat.
"It was like every ball I hit went for six. There was something special in that bat.
"As soon as I came to pavilion, our previous captain Ashgar Afghan, he was like, 'give me that bat' and I was like, 'oh no'. I was unable to reject him because I was unable to say no to him. So I said, 'okay, it's up to you'.
"He'd already taken it out from my bag and put it in his own bag. That was a special bat, from a special player as well."
With a broad smile, Rashid added: "He took that bat and I hope he doesn't do well with that and gives it back."
Having taken the blatant act of thievery in his stride, Rashid still hopes he can make an impact with his lesser – though still top of the range – array of woodwork.
"I'm always working hard on my batting," he said. "Nowadays it's quite important for me to bat lower order and finish the innings for the team."