Afghanistan: The dark horse

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is approaching thick and fast. Today Bangladesh Post looks at the impact of the Afghan team, who are definitely the dark horse of the upcoming World Cup. Afghanistan’s recent 3-wicket win against Pakistan in the pre World Cup warm up match on Thursday proves they are not here to just participate, they are here to compete. Tenth in the ICC ODI Team Rankings, Afghanistan go into the tournament as rank outsiders but with some of their star players already making names for themselves on the biggest stages.

Afghanistan are not the first team to change their captain on the eve of a major tournament and neither will they be the last. But if it was a smooth build-up, they wanted ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, they did not get it after Gulbadin Naib was elected captain in place of Asghar Afghan. Naib insists morale remains high, however, as the team gears up for their just their second ever Cricket World Cup.

Hamid Hassan’s surprise call-up is a boost, with the fit-again right-arm bowler bolstering their pace attack in what will be his final ODI tournament.Spinner Rashid Khan is the star attraction as underdogs Afghanistan seek Cricket World Cup upsets.  Rashid Khan, the world’s number three ODI and number one T20I bowler, big-hitting Hazratullah Zazai and teenage spin sensation Mujeeb Ur Rahman are among the three most exciting young players in world cricket at the moment.

They got a good blend of youth and experience. Experienced stars such as Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad and Afghan ensure this is a well-balanced squad too. Having beaten Sri Lanka and tied with India at last year’s Asia Cup, Afghanistan have already proved they can compete with the elite teams. So, can Phil Simmons’ side come up trumps against strong oppositions in England? Only time will tell.