ICC World Cup preview | Afghanistan’s primary goal will be to improve its poor record

The squad boasts of a strong spin attack, comprising Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad.

September 29, 2023 04:26 pm | Updated 05:39 pm IST

File picture of Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi

File picture of Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi | Photo Credit: AP

Afghanistan limped out of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup after losing all nine of its group-stage matches. In the previous edition, Afghanistan recorded its only win in an ODI World Cup fixture, when it edged out Scotland by one wicket.

The primary goal of the Asian minnows this time around would be to correct this poor record with a few upsets. This will not be an easy task, given the side’s poor recent results.


Afghanistan was blanked 0-3 by Pakistan in ODIs held in Sri Lanka last month. The succeeding Asia Cup was not much better, with the unit losing both outings (to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). That the Sri Lanka defeat came through an apparent miscalculation of the chase equation will provide little to no comfort to the players.

Afghanistan’s best chance to get on the points column will come when it takes on the Netherlands at Lucknow on October 3. Bangladesh is another possible victim on the radar, given that Afghanistan won a three-match ODI series when the teams met in July this year.

The squad boasts of a strong spin attack, comprising Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad.

Man in form

Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi is the man in form with the bat. At No. 4, Shahidi made scores of 51 and 59 in the Asia Cup.

Wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran form a dangerous opening pair. Gurbaz showed his class with a 151 against a strong Pakistan bowling line-up which included the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan in the second ODI last month.

In the same outing, Zadran came good with a 101-ball 80.

The experienced Rahmat Shah, who is set to earn 100 ODI caps during the course of the World Cup, lends stability at one-drop.

There was a surprise in store on Wednesday when fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq took to social media to announce that he would retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup.

Naveen, who last played an ODI in January 2021, stated that he wants to focus on T20 cricket.

Afghanistan’s readiness for the big stage will be put to test on Friday, when it faces South Africa at Thiruvananthapuram in its first warm-up game.

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