Praising IPL debutant Rashid Khan's performance as a leg-spinner in the two games he played so far, Sunrisers Hyderabad chief coach Tom Moody on Tuesday said he was not surprised at the Afghanistan bowler's early success in the cash-rich T20 League.
"I am not surprised, and that's why we were keen to get him in the auction. I have seen him bowl a lot in the last 12 months. I was very impressed with what he's capable of doing. He and Mohammed Nabi are a couple of reasons why Afghanistan have grown as a cricketing team, said Moody ahead of his side's face-off against Mumbai Indians here tomorrow.
Moody pointed out that the two-way turn generated by Khan while disguising his bowling action, has been one of the reasons for him troubling the opposition batsmen.
"Generally, most leg-spinners turn it both ways and that's one advantage (with having leg spinners). The other advantage is if you are a spinner like Rashid and can spin both ways with ability to disguise which way it's going to turn, it makes it doubly difficult for any batsman, he said.
"It's one of the reasons that Sunil Narine, though he's not a leg spinner, is such a handful over such a long period of time. He turns it both ways, with mystery. Rashid has got a very good wrong one and he's also got a good leggie. He generally bowls a lot quicker than leg-spinners which suited Indian wickets. And obviously he has found some good form early, he added.
Khan has so far bagged five wickets in two matches which were won by SRH — against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions.
"He, like any spinner, is going to be challenged on smaller grounds, but the surface here offers something for spin; it bounces and turns a bit and he will relish the conditions. With T20 cricket there are going to be times you will be hit out of the ground; how you respond to that is most important, he replied when asked about how Rashid will cope up with bowling on small grounds like the Wankhede Stadium.
The two back-to-back wins has given the team a good momentum, Moody said, adding that he was not worried about his side's lack of success in the matches they had played at this ground in the past.
"If we can get some early wins on board in a tournament like the IPL, it's certainly goes in increasing the confidence within the playing group and also builds some momentum.
"What's happened in past is not relevant to what is going to happen tomorrow; it's a different team and a few different players. It's about time for it to be rectified and we would look forward to that being an additional challenge."
SRH will be boosted by the arrival of Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman who is available for the game.
"He's reaching this evening. He will be fit and available and he is in our consideration for final eleven," said Moody.
Describing Yuvraj Singh as a "dynamic" player, Moody felt the swashbuckling batsman has sported a relaxed demeanour after joining the team midway through the last IPL after recovering from an ankle injury.
"Yuvraj missed the first half of tournament last year due to ankle injury. When he joined us I saw a sense of contentment with himself and with his game. He was relaxed and enjoyed the environment with Sunrisers.
"I think he's enjoying his cricket which is very important for any young or old player. When they are enjoying they are at their best. Yuvraj is content with everything, on and off field. He's in pretty happy place and obviously an important member of our side as he's such a dynamic player," said Moody.