Cricket as a sport has become so expansive and so many nations are coming forward, building their squads and working towards a better future in cricket.
One of such teams is Afghanistan who have shown massive progress in recent years. Their performances are getting better and better and we are witnessing the rise of a team that is anticipated to compete among the best in the upcoming years.
Afghanistan recently played Zimbabwe in UAE and they were very domineering in their style of play. They drew the test series but whitewashed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the T20s.
The likes of Asghar Afghan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, and Rashid Khan were some key performers in this series. But it is safe to say that the team played like a tightly knit unit and their performances are just evidence of all of this.
Before Zimbabwe, the Afghans played Ireland and whacked them in the ODI series, producing another whitewash, and also clinched the T20 series, 2-1.
Even in this series, Rashid Khan was on the top of his game and took the batting responsibility at times too. Rahmat Shah was another player who performed well as Afghanistan won another series in the UAE, with the T20s being held in India.
The Rashid factor
Rashid Khan has been not just a top player but an inspiration for anyone who wishes to become a cricketer in Afghanistan one day.
Performing right from his debut, his performances in all the other big leagues in the world allowed nations to have faith in Afghanistan's prospects, and eventually, we are seeing many players showcasing what they are capable of.
A bowler with 270 wickets in 130 games is some achievement and Rashid Khan has proven all his haters wrong.
Let's have a look at his overall numbers.
This is some influence on a team!
A Formidable Spin Force
Well, this department is also led by Rashid Khan but he does have several talented players around him, especially spinners who have made lives terrible for a lot of batsmen.
Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and of late another bowler who has made the headlines is Naveen-ul-Haq, who has been Afghanistan's leading wicket-taker in ODIs in 2021.
Afghanistan have redefined spin bowling and the above-mentioned names are just some of their key players. In the upcoming years, we can see many more youngsters turning towards spin bowling as they have such national legends to look forward to.
Karim Janat is also an emerging star who balls at a slow pace but is not a spinner. His impact on the T20 side has been immense and it will be intriguing to see how these sets of players perform in the future.
Afghanistan against big opponents
Afghanistan's record against the top opponents, the likes of India, England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa isn't good and that should be the next step in their approach to become a top side.
Afghanistan will need to be more consistent in all departments when competing against the top sides and even the smallest mistakes could cost them a lot. A catch dropped could help them with another chance in a game against an Associate opponent team but the same against the likes of India or Australia could prove lethal.
Similarly, the Afghanistan batsmen are capable of destroying the teams they have played multiple times but they will have to learn to play and performing well against new bowlers on the day as well.
As they move up the pyramid, the competition will get fiercer and the margin of error would alleviate drastically as well.
Do you see Afghanistan producing any upsets in the upcoming T20 World Cup?
A robust batting
Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmutullah Shahidi are some phenomenal players who have shown great potential in this Afghanistan batting lineup.
Continuing the above point, things are bound to get trickier for them but if they fight it the way they have dealt with things so far, they will only get better.
Do you see a promising future for this Afghanistan squad?
The Next Step
“They are naturally talented and that is why sometimes you need to leave them on their own. It is important that they don’t get involved in too many technicalities of the game.”
- Sunil Gavaskar
Afghanistan received the test status and became a full ICC member in the year 2017. Since then Afghanistan have shown ample growth in their character as well as their performances.
When we talk about the next step, it only has to be about how they sustain against the bigger opponents, and for that, there should set their eyes to do as good as they can in the upcoming T20 World Cup this year.
Saying that Afghanistan will win the tournament is unrealistic in such a short time but the team can surely plan how they can minimize their mistakes while they capitalize on others.
Where do you see Afghanistan finishing the ICC Men's T20 World Cup? Let us know via our social media accounts. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more updates. We bet you won't be disappointed.
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