Afghanistan are the minnows of world cricket but their captain Nawroz Mangal tried to play a few mind games ahead of their World Twenty20 opener against India on Wednesday, saying that his batsmen were confident of playing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin having done well against Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine.
"We have done our homework against Ashwin and hopefully my batsmen can cope up with pressure and deliver to the plans. We have done good homework especially against spinners. We did well in the past against quality spinners like Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine and we have not faced any difficulties," Mangal said at the pre-match media interaction.
Afghanistan had lost to India during the last edition of World T20 but Mangal asserted that it will be a different ball game this time.
"Definitely, India is a big team and we are very excited and looking forward to this game. But our performances in near past have been pretty OK. Especially in the few games that we have played against Test teams, we have done well. Tomorrow, you will see a different team from what you saw in the last World T20," a confident Afghanistan captain said.
Mangal said that it has been a huge learning curve for his team to have made it to the World Twenty20.
"We have learned a lot. This is a learning phase for us. From facing India and South Africa in the last World T20 to playing international matches against Australia and Pakistan, we have come a long way. We have had a good ICC qualifying event and hope to carry on the momentum," he said.
For Mangal, the most important thing is to prove people back home that "they belong to the world stage".
"This format suits my team as on a particular day if two batsman and two bowlers click, you can win a match," he said.
On the team front, Mangal informed that their premier fast bowler Hamid Hassan is carrying an injury and will not play on Wednesday.