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Focus is always to win for my team: Shaik Rasheed | Cricket News – Times of India


VISAKHAPATNAM: The celebrations continued till late in the night and by the time Shaik Rasheed returned to his room in Antigua around 9.20 am IST, the feeling was yet to sink in. Still, the ICC U-19 World champion’s medal is a testimony to the 17-year-old Guntur‘s lad’s rising stock in Indian cricket.
More so after his stellar role in the four-wicket win over England in North Sound on Saturday night. The Indian vice-captain, who scored 50 in the final, said the joy of winning the World Cup cannot be described in words. “Winning the World Cup U-19 title is memorable as it has made my parents proud. They have sacrificed a lot in their lives to see me in this position. I will never let them down,” Rasheed told TOI just before he called it a night.

Rasheed was one of the five Indian cricketers who had to miss the initial part of the World Cup as they were down with Covid. It was a dampener, he said. “All five of us had to quarantine and it was a strange experience being locked up in our rooms with nothing to do. Thanks to Laxman sir, we could recover quickly. He used to make video calls to all of us to boost our spirits and confidence. He told us to focus on the tournament and not be bogged down by the virus,” Rasheed said.
Once back in the team, Rasheed made it count with a 94 in the semis against Australia. Though unfortunate to miss a century, Rasheed added 204 for the third wicket with skipper Yash Dhull and rescued the team from 37 for two. “I was a little shaky in my first match after recovering from Covid – quarterfinals against Bangladesh. I scored only 26. But in the semifinals against Australia, I wanted to play my natural game. I could’ve taken singles and completed my century. But that’s not how I play my game. Whether it’s Guntur, Andhra or India, my focus is to always win the game for my team,” he said.

Rasheed said the confidence he gained by playing grade cricket has helped him move up the ladder. “I performed well in the Challengers Trophy (India B won all four matches under his captaincy; he also scored 274 runs and won two MoM awards) and the Triangular series (155 runs in two matches). All those runs as well as the two-month stint in UK helped me stay focused. The UK trip taught me a lot of things. First, to be on my own. And then to play cricket in totally different conditions,” Rasheed said.

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Shaik Rasheed. (ANI Photo)





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