"Mujeeb was exceptional. The way he came in and performed [in the IPL]," Rashid told ESPNcricinfo at the CEAT cricket awards, where he was named the T20 bowler of the year. "He has joined the national team as well. He has played only like 10-15 ODIs and coming from that stage and playing in such a big league is a big achievement for him. He is capable of this and the turn he gets suits him and he has done really well."
Mujeeb has had a memorable 2018 already. In February, the 17-year old bowled Afghanistan to the Under-19 World Cup semi-final in New Zealand. In March, he helped Afghanistan win the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe and sealed their place in the 2019 World Cup. Then in his maiden IPL stint in April-May, he claimed 14 wickets in 11 games at an economy rate of 6.99 before missing Kings XI Punjab's last three games with a hand injury.
"Unfortunately, he got injured in the last few games," Rashid said of Mujeeb. "He's a very good bowler, clever bowler, and even I am happy to have him in the national side because he's the kind of bowler who takes a little bit of pressure off me. Because earlier the national team was only dependent on me. Now, having him in the side is a plus point for me."
Mujeeb has recovered from his injury and will combine with Rashid, again, in Afghanistan's maiden Test in Bengaluru, which starts on June 14. Rashid talked up the occasion and hoped the team would perform well.
"It's a big achievement for us to get Full Membership and now playing Test cricket against India in India," Rashid said. "It will be a very big day for us and the whole country to play the first Test against India in Bangalore. I'm really excited about that. Hopefully, we will give our best performance in that."
Three Afghanistan players played in the IPL this season - Rashid (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Mujeeb (Kings XI Punjab), and Mohammad Nabi (Sunrisers Hyderabad). It could have been four had left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, who had been picked at the auction by Rajasthan Royals for INR 60 lakh, not suffered an injury that sidelined him from the entire season. Rashid said that more players from Afghanistan would play in the next IPL season if they continued to do well in domestic cricket.
"If you see our domestic cricket, lots of spinners are there. Hopefully, in the upcoming year there will be like five or six more spinners [in IPL]," Rashid said. "I have seen them in domestic cricket. They've taken lots of wickets in the four-day first-class [competition]. If they do well in domestic cricket, hopefully they will get a chance in the IPL."