Sushma Swaraj and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani take to Twitter on citizenship demand for cricketer Rashid Khan

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Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday pulled off a spectacular 13-run win against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. The win enabled the Hyderabad team to secure their place in this year’s IPL Final, where they will face Chennai Super Kings.

 

One man who single-handedly secured the win for Sunrisers Hyderabad was Rashid Khan, who chipped in with a quickfire 34 not out off just 10 deliveries with his bat before displaying a remarkable spell of spin bowling. He took three wickets in his quota of four overs by just conceding 19 runs. He was also magnificent with his fielding as the player from Afghanistan held two beautiful catches of Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi.

As expected, Rashid was adjudged Man Of The Match for his remarkable all-round performance at the Eden. The young player became a top Twitter trend with pundits and social media users alike showering praises on his cricketing talent.

The God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, spoke for millions, when he tweeted this, “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.”

Thousands of cricket fans then launched a campaign asking the Indian government to consider giving him Indian citizenship as the country was in desperate need of such talent. Such was the craze for Rashid Khan that he remained the top Twitter trend across India even in the early hours of Saturday morning with more than 32,000 tweets posted on his performance.

Taking note of Twitterati’s demand on giving Indian citizenship to Rashid, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj cheekily tweeted saying that matters related to citizenship were being dealt by the Ministry of Home Affiars and not her. She wrote, “@rashidkhan_19 – I have seen all the tweets. Citizenship matters are dealt with by Ministry of Home affairs.”

And before the topic of granting Indian citizenship could escalate into a diplomatic row with Afghanistan, Afghan President Ashrag Ghani tweeted calling Rashid his country’s national asset. He wrote, “Afghans take absolute pride in our hero, Rashid Khan. I am also thankful to our Indian friends for giving our players a platform to show their skills. Rashid reminds us whats best about Afg. He remains an asset to the cricketing world. No we are not giving him away. (sic)”

It’s hard to recall when an individual player’s cricketing prowess on the field had created so much buzz cutting across the national boundaries in the past.

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