Sports, Cricket

Spin-heavy Afghans look to turn things around in India

Published : 29 Sep 2023 09:19 PM

Afghanistan will be looking to a spinquartet led by match-winner Rashid Khan to get results on the slow andturning wickets of India at the World Cup.

Rashid is in huge demand for Twenty20 teams around the world as he is thetop-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 tovictory.

The lack of a pace attack and inconsistent batting have let down Afghanistanin 50-over cricket, with the team winning just two of their nine games thisyear.

They also failed to get past the first round in the recent Asia Cup, withskipper 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 thatwe are not good, we are well prepared and the result will be different in theWorld 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 tumultover the past decades.

"Our crowd always supports us, and we are thankful to them. We will try ourbest to give something to them," said Shahidi, who will be playing his secondWorld Cup.

"People back home are expecting a lot from us, they want us to win."