Rashid Khan, who made his debut in 2015, is No.1 in the T20I Bowlers’ rankings, No.1 in the ODI all-rounders’ charts and No.2 in the ODI bowlers’ rankings. @ AFP

Ace Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan said that cricket has “changed everything” in the country and nothing makes his countrymen happier than watching his team do well.

Afghanistan’s ascent is like a fairytale in the warn-torn nation specially after the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) was formed in 1995.

Afghanistan, who created history after qualifying for their maiden ICC World Cup 2019, have been pooled in with India, England and South Africa in Group 2 in the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 – fixtures of which were announced on Tuesday.

“It feels good. People back home, they love cricket,” Rashid, who was present a panel interview at the announcement, was quoted as saying by the ICC website. (ALSO READ: India to open 2020 T20 World Cup campaign against South Africa)

“It has changed everything in the country in the last five-six years. The young generation … everyone’s following cricket, they love it. It means a lot that Afghanistan is participating in the World Cup.

“The fans are loving it. They love the sport, they love cricket. (We players) just try and give 100 per cent in each and every competition. Everywhere, we try our best to give something to the people back home. I know what is happening, so there is nothing else that can bring such a smile on their faces.

“We – me, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rehman – we just try and give our best in each and every game. The World Cup will be good experience. Can’t wait for it.”

Afghanistan are currently No.8 in the ICC T20I Team Rankings. The 20-year-old Rashid, who made his debut in 2015, is No.1 in the T20I Bowlers’ rankings, No.1 in the ODI all-rounders’ charts and No.2 in the ODI bowlers’ rankings.

Rashid’s stocks in the international circuit has made him a valuable player for franchise cricket – Indian Premier League (IPL), Big Bash League (BBL) – to name a few. With his gruelling schedule the entire year, he hardly spends time at home, which he admits is hard. (ALSO READ: Rashid Khan has made an impact on current generation of legspinners: Sandeep Lamichhane)

“They are just watching it, it doesn’t matter whatever the time is back home in Afghanistan,” he said.

“Everyone gets together and watches in one room. It feels really good and special, having good support from the family. They just keep following me.

“When I was playing in the West Indies and the time difference was too much – matches were starting at 3am in Afghanistan – my mom was waking up and watching my game and praying for me. That is really special for me.

“Before the game, she was calling me and telling me to not worry, ‘just go there and enjoy yourself. Our prayers and support is with you’. That gives you a lot of energy and motivation. It’s needed as a player.”