Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir said other teams should be wary of the Afghanistan side in the T20 World Cup as they have a few players who can win the game single-handedly. Afghanistan are placed alongside India, Pakistan, New Zealand in Group 2 and have directly qualified for the Super 12 stage, overtaking the likes of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The ICC has announced the dates and the schedule for the T20 World Cup – the seventh edition of the tournament will start on 17 October and will run until November 14 in Oman and UAE.
Gautam Gambhir hailed Afghanistan’s newly appointed T20 captain, Rashid Khan, as a game-changer in himself. He reckoned the side is well able to create an upset of two at the marquee event. In the 2016 edition, they defeated the eventual winners, West Indies, in the group stage.
“You can’t take Afghanistan lightly as well. I have always been a believer that if you want to talk about one team that is going to be a real underdog in this tournament, that must be Afghanistan. Additionally, they have got people like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb, and Mohd Nabi, you can’t take them players lightly,” Gautam Gambhir said while speaking on Star Sports.
“Yes, in a T20 format, anyone can beat anyone because it is a very individual kind of format, and we should not take any team for granted. For example, you should not take Afghanistan for granted. People like Rashid Khan can create upsets,” he added.
Group 1 is the group of death: Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir, who played a crucial role in India’s 2007 T20 World Cup triumph, feels that Group 1 is the ‘group of death’. Group 1 comprises defending champions West Indies, the number 1 ranked T20 side England, Australia, who are bolstered by the return of their stars, and South Africa, who are still a formidable side in the shortest format.
“Group 1 is the group of death, and that’s actually the real group. You’ve got four teams locked in and playing what, on day one of the T20 World Cup, that’s going to be a very exciting Saturday. West Indies have always been very unpredictable with the kind of firepower they’ve got – they can go on to win the third time as well.
“England has also got the firepower; they have probably got the most consistent white-ball team over the last couple of years – after winning the 50-over World Cup. Australia has literally gone off the radar, probably because a lot of main players are missing, but then again, I think they can be very dangerous on that particular day,” said the former India opener.