T20 World Cup 2021: Rashid Khan names Virat Kohli amongst the seven most challenging batters in world cricket

There is no doubt that Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan is a high-class bowler, especially in the T20 format. The leg-spinner is widely known for his spectacular variations and has the art of trapping batters with a bit of pacy spin bowling.

The expectations would be really high from Rashid in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. Afghanistan will start their campaign in the muti-team tournament against a qualifier team from Group B on October 25 in Sharjah.

Rashid has built his image as such a quality bowler that teams around the globe tend to play him with caution, and something similar can be expected in the T20 World Cup as well.

But a few batters play Rashid well and put him under pressure, and ahead of the global showpiece event, the right-armer opened up about such batsmen. During his recent chat for Cricket Monthly, Rashid categorised the challenging batters in two parts – one being the busy batsmen while the others are power hitters.

In the first category, Rashid named Indian skipper Virat Kohli, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Pakistan leader Babar Azam. Rashid reckoned these three batters are harder to bowl against because one has to be accurate against them; otherwise, they never miss any opportunity to score runs.

“There are two types of batsmen: one is a busy batsman, trying to hit you in the gaps, and the other is someone who hits you for sixes. The batsmen who try to hit you in the gap, like Virat Kohli, are pretty hard to bowl to. As soon as he finds out that this ball is a bit off length or a loose ball, he is going to hit you in the gap,” said Rashid.

“The hard-hitters might just block you and might want to get off strike or just play a dot ball. But Kohli will either get two or a boundary. Kane Williamson and Babar Azam are similar. These three batsmen are harder to bowl against because you have to be accurate against them – bowl the perfect line and length,” he added.

Similarly, in the second category, Rashid named power hitters in the form of Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Chris Gayle.

“Power-hitters like Hardik Pandya, [Kieron] Pollard, [Andre] Russell, Chris Gayle – if you bowl anything fuller to them, they are going to hit you harder. If it is a good-length ball, they are going to block you. They won’t be looking for that gap to take a single, double or hit a boundary,” Rashid added further.