Cricket World Cup 2023: Spin-Heavy Afghanistan Look To Turn Things Around In India
Afghanistan will be looking to a spin quartet led by match-winner Rashid Khan to get results on the slow and turning wickets of India at the World Cup.
Afghanistan will be looking to a spin quartet led by match-winner Rashid Khan to get results on the slow and turning wickets of India at the World Cup. Rashid is in huge demand for T20 teams around the world as he is the top-ranked bowler in that format and fifth in ODIs. But the Afghans have great spin depth beyond Rashid, with Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad also capable of turning their side to victory. The lack of a pace attack and inconsistent batting have let down Afghanistan in 50-over cricket, with the team winning just two of their nine games this year.
They also failed to get past the first round in the recent Asia Cup, with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi lamenting a run of poor form.
"We have played good cricket in the last couple of years," said Shahidi, whose team won a three-match series in Bangladesh in July.
"But from the last four or five games we were struggling."
Still, the captain is confident the side can turn the corner in India.
"The Asia Cup was a good wake up call. At the same time it doesn't mean that we are not good, we are well prepared and the result will be different in the World Cup. I believe in our team," he added in comments to AFP.
Despite the recent failures, the team can count on massive support at home, with the national team a rare symbol of unity in a nation embroiled by tumult over the past decades.
"Our crowd always supports us, and we are thankful to them. We will try our best to give something to them," said Shahidi, who will be playing his second World Cup.
"People back home are expecting a lot from us, they want us to win. "
Afghanistan's rise in international cricket reached a high in the 2011 World Cup qualifying rounds, but losing to Canada in the Super Eight deprived them of a place in the mega event co-hosted by India and Sri Lanka.
Four years later they made their maiden appearance in Australia and New Zealand, beating fellow associate member Scotland, but losing their five other matches.
This time Naib was controversially omitted despite good recent form.
Shahidi hopes Afghanistan's first game against Bangladesh on October 7 will set the tone for the competition.
"Every game played at the World Cup is important, it gives you confidence and good morale if you go out there and win," he said.
But Afghanistan's real test will be against the top teams -- who they have never beaten in an ODI.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)