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Rashid Khan returns to Sussex for 2022 Blast

Afghanistan spinner joins Rizwan, Head as overseas signings in his fourth stint with club

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Rashid Khan takes off after dismissing Martin Guptill, Afghanistan vs New Zealand, T20 World Cup, Group 2, Abu Dhabi, November 7, 2021

Rashid Khan celebrates a wicket  •  AFP/Getty Images

Rashid Khan will return to Sussex for a fourth spell with the county in the 2022 T20 Blast.
Rashid first signed for Sussex in 2018 and returned in 2019 and 2021. His stint last summer comprised only three games due to the rearranged Pakistan Super League, but included a match-winning performance in the quarter-finals against Yorkshire when he took 1 for 25 from four overs then hit 27 not out off nine balls to seal a five-wicket win.
He becomes Sussex's second major signing in as many days after Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan was unveiled as an overseas player on Thursday. Sussex will register Rashid, Rizwan and Championship captain Travis Head as their three overseas players for the Blast, with a maximum of two playing at any one time.
The club said in a press release that the move would "maximise availability in the event of international call-ups or Covid-19 related disruption" with the majority of counties struggling to tie players down due to the ever-changing nature of the Future Tours Programme.
Rizwan, for example, was due to play for Sussex from April until mid-July, but barely 90 minutes after his signing was announced, Pakistan confirmed that their ODI series against West Indies had been moved to June, compromising his availability.
Rashid is likely to miss the first handful of games of the Blast season due to his likely involvement in the IPL. Afghanistan are also due to play three T20Is against Australia, ending in early June, though fixtures are yet to be confirmed. The Blast is expected to start on May 25, with Finals Day on July 16.
He will be one of three legspinners in the Sussex squad along with Will Beer - who has moved to a T20-only contract - and the teenager Archie Lenham. James Kirtley, their T20 head coach, said that Rashid's influence as a role model was a major positive for the squad.
"Rash is an outstanding person and his positive effect on our environment was so obvious last summer," Kirtley said. "The immediate care and mentoring he showed Archie showed the real class of the person.
"He's the best in the business and we are truly lucky to have him. It is great to know we have developed a long-standing relationship with the best T20 spinner in the world - not to forget his dynamic batting which we witnessed against Yorkshire in last year's quarter-final.
"It will be amazing to have his services for the majority of the T20 Blast along with our two other overseas players. This puts us in an enviable position of being able to react to the ever-changing landscape of international cricket."
Rashid, who is currently in Australia playing for Adelaide Strikers under Sussex's former coach Jason Gillespie, said that despite the loss of two key players in Chris Jordan and Phil Salt, he was "more determined that ever to try and help bring the T20 Blast title back to Hove".
"The squad will look a little different this season with some key players having moved on," he said, "but the youngsters coming through impressed me greatly in recent seasons and combined with some new faces I think it is a really exciting time to be a Sharks fan."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98