Former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan
Former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan talked about Afghanistan’s dream run at the 2023 ODI World Cup and how that experience might help them to get better of themselves at the upcoming T20 World Cup.
England, Pakistan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Australia (almost) – Afghanistan got the better of all these teams at the 2023 ODI World Cup in India. And you would not be far away from rooting for them to qualify for the semi-finals. And they would have definitely qualified if not for Glenn Maxwell.
However, as we look forward, the next big conquest that lies ahead is the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies. Can Afghanistan better themselves and for once, really reach the semi-finals? Former captain Asghar Afghan believes they can.
“Afghanistan have the potential to reach the T20 World Cup semi-final”, said Afghan who is now gearing up for the Asian Legends League.
The Afghan team had a brilliant run during the ODI World Cup and the former cricketer is confident that the experience that players got during the tournament will help them in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
“Afghanistan’s T20 team is fantastic. They play the T20 format really well. Also, the team gained a lot of experience after playing in the ODI World Cup 2023 in India. They understood their shortcomings as well as their strength,” Afghan told News 18 CricketNext.
Afghan also recalled the once-in-a-blue-moon match in Bangalore that saw two super overs before the winner was decided.
“If you look at the bilateral series (Ind vs Afg), the Afghanistan team took it into the second Super Over. They gave them a tough fight,” he added.
“Also, the team will have an idea about the strengths and weaknesses when they play the T20 World Cup 2024. The World Cup will be held in the USA and West Indies where the tracks will have support for the spinners. I believe it’s an opportunity for Afghanistan to leave a mark and they have the calibre to reach the semi-final. We should have reached the semi-final in ODI World Cup as well,” he added.
Afghanistan put up a stunning performance during the ODI World Cup against stronger teams including England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Asian side also looked on track to beat Australia before Maxwell did the unthinkable.
They had posted 291/5 in 50 overs and had also managed to pick up early wickets before Glenn Maxwell’s batting masterclass and a first double ton while chasing took the game away from Afghanistan.
When asked about that particular game, Afghan admitted that the team seemed to get a bit relaxed after picking up wickets but also added that this would prove as a major learning curve for all the players.
“See, your captaincy is judged when you are defending a total. I feel Afghanistan just became a bit relaxed which wasn’t right. You can’t really take things easy till the time the game is over. We faltered technically and tactically then. But again it’s part and parcel of the game and that’s how you gain experience and learn.”
‘Afghanistan have a lot of potential when it comes to Test cricket’
Despite getting the Test status a few years back, Afghanistan haven’t really played much of the longest format. The ex-captain feels that the team possesses a lot of talent to showcase in Tests.
“Test cricket is a very important format. It helps you build the experience. We have done pretty well in the chances we have got. I just feel the ICC and other boards should come together and allow us to play some more Test cricket. I can guarantee you, the Afghan team has a lot of potential when it comes to Test cricket,” the 37-year-old explained.
Playing Asian Legends League
Asghar expressed delight in being a part of the Asian Legends League and representing his country at the upcoming tournament.
“See, I have played a lot of legends’ leagues. But this Asian Legends League is going to be a big tournament because the players will be representing their country. When you play for the franchises, the momentum there is a bit different. But here we will be playing for the country and that’s a different emotion,” he said.