He is 23, has 3.1 million Instagram followers and another 1.2 million on Twitter. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan's highest-paid cricketer, estimated at a net worth of 22 crores, will make a cool 15 crores for two months of service to new Indian Premier League team, Gujarat Titans.
Almost through the year, he crisscrosses the world playing franchise cricket. Rashid's suave nature wins him friends and of course contracts to make the Afghan youngster a hugely popular and prosperous cricketer.
In return, Rashid Khan usually lives up to his reputation and in spite of the pressure of playing day in and day out, has always delivered and never felt the pressure of expectation. He is fired by the happy faces of millions of Afghan fans. Rashid calls them "natural boosters."
"I am blessed that I am a cricketer from Afghanistan. Not many can come this far and I am grateful. Yes, in know of international sportspersons succumbing to mental health issues, but I have never felt it," the Gujarat Titans all-rounder told Outlook on Friday.
Earlier this week, world No. 1 women's tennis player Ashleigh Barty retired from tennis. She is only 25.
Wimbledon champion Barty’s decision to retire surprised almost everyone involved in the sport, from fans to players and officials, and prompted the obvious question: why now?
In the Instagram video she’d alluded to the dreams and challenges that lay ahead for Ashleigh Barty the person, rather than Ashleigh Barty the player, said AP. Those who pressed for a few more details in the official news conference were met with a repeated response: “You’ll have to wait and see. Be patient.”
Several elite athletes have suffered from mental health issues leading to complex levels of anxiety leading to premature retirement or break from professional activities.
International cricketers have suffered from this as well. In recent times, Ben Stokes, Glenn Maxwell and Will Pucovski have suffered from mental health issues. All three went on long breaks from cricket to return in a proper frame of mind.
Color pencil drawing of Rashid Khan @rashidkhan_19 Artist: Nargis Alokozay @AlokozayNargis @artcoin_af #rashidkhan #rashidkhan19 #rashidkhanfans #circket #afghanistan #afghanistancricket #afghanathletes #راشد_خان— Nargis Alokozay (@AlokozayNargis) March 14, 2022
#NargisAlokozay #painting #drawing pic.twitter.com/esenjkN5Cn
While the pressure of expectation is often seen as a reason, there could be multiple other aspects that lead to such mental health issues. Some of them can be personal too.
Rashid Khan says mental health issues as an "individual thing."
"In the last two years so many things are happening around the world and the COVID situation has hurt people mentally. If are unable to concentrate and do your work properly then it gets even more depressing. It can happen with anyone, not just sportspersons.
"During these times, you need someone like your family to support you and make sure stay relaxed and focused on your job. It's a difficult situation," explained Rashid.
I don’t know the right words to say but all I can is to simply say THANK YOU! @lahoreqalandars @iShaheenAfridi @sameenrana @thePSLt20 it was such a great experience.Honestly it’s hard to leave such a lovely environment I would’ve loved to play remaining games but National duty 🇦🇫 pic.twitter.com/cIRiGByzE8— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) February 20, 2022
With cricket, especially IPL, being played during COVID times behind closed doors, players like Virat Kohli have complained about life in bio-bubbles. Rashid Khan has not been impacted by all this.
"I am from Afghanistan and that itself (gives me) huge energy. Whenever I think of my country, my people, it gives me a lot of boost.
"I am playing for them and representing Afghanistan every where. Wherever I am performing, they are celebrating and that is enough motivation for me. This keep me fresh for every competition.
"The happy faces of Afghan people gives me a lot of confidence in life," explained Rashid Khan.