Rashid Khan of Sunrisers Hyderabad in action during the course of his stupendous late-innings assault against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second IPL qualifier in Kolkata on Friday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: UAE cricketers have hailed Rashid Khan’s fighting spirit after his fearless all-round show in the second qualifier against Kolkata Knight Riders that lifted Sunrisers Hyderabad into the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Khan, who hails from the war-torn Afghanistan, have won the hearts of millions of cricket fans around the world and become a superstar through this edition of the IPL. He proved he cannot only bowl but play whirlwind knocks and is also a splendid fielder in the crucial second qualifier at the Eden Gardens on Friday.

The UAE players, who have regularly played against Khan in international matches as Afghanistan until recently was an Associate nation like them before earning Test status, showered praise on the youngster.

“He (Khan) is a natural cricketer and he is different from others. This quality in him has helped him a lot. For example, his arm speed is such that it has always been tough to read his googly,” said UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa.

Though Khan hails from Jalalabad, a province in Afghanistan, he has been training at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which had opened its facilities for Afghanistan Cricket Board. Former UAE captain and selector Khurram Khan said: “Khan was just starting when I retired but he is too good and I am sure he will go on to break many cricket records.”

All-rounder Amjad Javed, who had captained the UAE in matches against Khan, said: “He (Khan) is special and loves to challenge big teams with consistent performances. He is one with so much commitment towards the game and wants to win everything which comes his way and that makes him special.”

UAE spinner Ahmad Raza, who has also led the UAE in limited overs cricket against Afghanistan, said: “Usually, mystery spinners fade away after one year but all credit to him (Khan) that he is dominating world cricket. His variations are splendid and he is very quick through the air and hard to pick. On the field he is very competitive but off the field he is a very humble person.”

Khan has remained a humble person despite his meteoric rise to fame. He is one among the 10 siblings of his parents who had to flee from Afghanistan during the war and live in Pakistan for many years. He played cricket with his brothers while schooling in Afghanistan but became a leg spinner idolising Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

After his performance against Kolkata, Sachin Tendulkar tweeted: “Always felt @rashidkhan_19 was a good spinner but now I wouldn’t hesitate in saying he is the best spinner in the world in this format. Mind you, he’s got some batting skills as well. Great guy.”.