Afghanistan is going through turmoil yet again. The very resourceful but very unfortunate country for continuous war and conflicts however possess some top-quality cricketers who took their team to great heights already in world cricket.
Fortunately, Talibans love cricket and cricket is the only way of bringing the nation together.Having worked four years in Afghanistan and working intensively in mining and petroleum sector and Universities I have fair idea about Afghanistan culture, strong never say die or defeated attitude. They have some exceptional wicket taking spinners able to turn the ball even on glass surface.
This team has now some power hitters and above average pace bowlers. However, new administration changed the leadership making experienced Mohammad Nabi as the captain yet again. Afghanistan is in the group of death where they have New Zealand, India and Pakistan. Bangladesh would also join them and may also find Sri Lanka eventually. Afghanistan definitely has potential and capability of causing few upsets which may change the balance. There are some concerns about the depth of their batting. However, having knowledge and experience of the UAE wickets much better than most teams Afghanistan would be better prepared.
Mohammad Nabi (Captain),Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz,Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmad
Rashid Khan (photo collected)
As we can see from above ICC Men’s T20 cricketer of the decade enigmatic leg spinner Rashid Khan would lead the spin attack. Now being relieved from leadership responsibility he would be better prepared to hunt for wickets. This writer has witnessed many matches of Rashid playing for BBL franchise in Australia. It does not matter what kind of wicket the match is played he can find a way to get 2 or 3 wickets any day. On his special day he can run through an innings. On his presence his partners are in a better position to attack the batsmen from the other end. He will have mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman and quality spinner as spinning partner. Captain Nabi is also a spinning all-rounder. Sarafuddin Ashraf also a quality spin bowler has also been added to the spin heavy attack.
Dawlat Zadran and Shapoor Zadran would possibly lead pace attack. Hamid Hasan and Naveen Ul Huq are also experienced campaigners. Afghans have depth in their bowling attack. It will depend how the plan the playing eleven against rivals. But spin would be their key and also how the bat. If Afghans can consistently score 170-180 consistently, they have attack for defending.
Rahmatullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai are quality batsmen for giving good starts. Flamboyant Mohammad Shahzad has Caribbean flair in his batting. Asghar Afghan, Nazibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi have technique and temperament for staying at the wicket and scoring runs. What Afghans would lack are quality power hitters at the death. Still then I would not rule out Afghans scoring 170-180 runs in some matches and winning.
What a precious gift it would be for the Afghan people now in great uncertainty at home and abroad. As a well-wisher of Afghanistan this writer would be extremely delighted if they win few matches. Afghanistan has won three men’s T20 internationals in their history against the full members of the tournament’s Super 12, out of a total of 14 fixtures. All three of those victories came against the West Indies.
BDST: 1152 HRS, SEP 12, 2021