CSK currently lack a stable number 3 batter. Can Shaik Rasheed (left) fulfill the responsibility in the near future?
Like every young cricketer around the globe, Shaik Rasheed yearns for an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract. The vice-captain of India’s victorious U-19 World Cup squad in the West Indies earlier this year has revealed that it is his dream to share the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) dressing room with former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni someday.
Touted as a future batting star along with India U-19 captain Yash Dhull, Rasheed’s classical batting style makes him a sight to behold. The Guntur-born batter could serve as an inspiration to many budding cricketers, having battled financial challenges and toiled hard to make a mark in India’s youth cricket.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda recently, Rasheed, who’s managed by “Square The One Pvt Ltd”, explained why he dreams of representing CSK:
“I would love to be a part of Chennai Super Kings because they’re such a close-knit team. My dream is to share the dressing room with MS Dhoni. His calm demeanor, the way he prepares before a game, his astute captaincy on the field – I would love to absorb all these qualities from him.”
Dhoni, 40, relinquished his CSK captaincy and handed over the baton to ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja a couple of days before the start of IPL 2022. Under Jadeja, the defending champions have had a hot-and-cold run and occupy the ninth spot in the table, winning two and losing six matches so far.
Rasheed doesn’t regret missing out on the IPL mega-auction
Shaik Rasheed hit consecutive half-centuries in the semi-finals and the final to help India clinch their fifth U-19 World Cup title, the most by any country so far. However, the road wasn’t easy for the 17-year-old as he contracted COVID-19 after India’s inaugural fixture against South Africa U-19 and missed a couple of matches thereafter.
Rasheed scored a scratchy 59-ball 26 in his comeback game against Bangladesh U-19, but made amends for it with a crucial 108-ball 94 in the semi-final against Australia U-19. He held one end together and stitched a 204-run third-wicket stand with Dhull, which allowed India U-19 to post 290-5 in 50 overs, a winning total. The knock heralded Rasheed’s arrival on the big stage as the Aussies suffered a 96-run defeat.
The right-hander followed it up with a dogged 84-ball 50 whilst chasing England U-19’s 189 in the summit clash in Antigua. Although the 190-run target was expected to be a cakewalk for the hitherto undefeated Indian colts, they did seem jittery at times, which was natural considering the pressure of performing in a World Cup final.
If ‘pressure’ is the buzzword in big matches, Rasheed has time and again evinced a knack for soaking it up. Just as his patient fifty in the U-19 World Cup final paved the way for India’s title triumph, his 49-ball 31 proved instrumental in India’s nine-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the U-19 Asia Cup final late last year.
The World Cup success has catapulted Rasheed to fame, but his humble background tethers him to his roots. He shares a beautiful bond with his father Shaik Balishavali, who has put his blood and sweat into the dream of making Rasheed a professional cricketer. The countless sacrifices endured by the father-son duo over the years always drive him to look forward, putting behind his past experiences, both good and bad.
Rasheed made the transition from youth cricket to senior level when he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Andhra Pradesh against Services a couple of months back. In his two first-class matches so far, Rasheed has piled up 142 runs at an average of 35.40, including a solitary fifty (56) against Uttarakhand. He also recently slammed two centuries and a double century in three consecutive Col. CK Nayudu Trophy matches against Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Manipur, respectively.
Despite his impeccable form, Rasheed is without an IPL contract. However, he’s not the only member of the U-19 World Cup-winning squad who missed out on this year’s mega auction in Bengaluru. Apart from Rasheed, eight more U-19 players, namely Dinesh Bana, Ravi Kumar, Nishant Sindhu, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Manav Parakh, Garv Sangwan, Siddharth Yadav and Aaradhya Yadav, were deemed ineligible for the auction as they failed to meet the criteria.
As per the IPL auction rules, you either need to play at least one first-class or List A match, or turn 19 before the auction takes place. These cricketers were not named on the auction list, but some of their India U-19 teammates like Dhull, Vicky Ostwal, Raj Bawa and Rajvardhan Hangargekar have already made their foray into the cash-rich league.
Asked if he regrets not being a part of this year’s IPL, Rasheed modestly replied:
“I’m not really worried about it. I’m delighted that my U-19 teammates are already playing in the IPL. I also wish to be a part of an IPL team in the future.”
With multiple sources suggesting that this could be Dhoni’s last IPL as a player, it’s unlikely that he’ll be seen in action next year. That said, if he decides to extend his IPL career until 2023, Rasheed’s dream might just come true. Will he get a chance to don the yellow shirt and pick Dhoni’s brains? Only time will tell.