Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad believes the emergence of promising spinners has made them a threatening unit. Spinners like Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have come through the ranks to deliver the goods for the Afghan team in the recent past.
Subsequently, Rashid scalped eight wickets in the three-match series against Bangladesh. The mystery leg-spinner also bagged the Man of the Series award.
Consequently, the pugnacious opening batsman Shahzad believes that Afghanistan can beat any side on their day, especially in the Twenty20 Internationals.
The Afghan team was right on the money in the series against Bangladesh. Asghar Stanikzai led team dominated the first two matches while they snatched victory in the final game by one run. Thus, they went on to whitewash Bangladesh.
Shahzad believes the spinners did the trick for them. The Afghan opener said while talking to Sportstar, “The key has been the emergence of spin bowlers. This group of match-winning spinners has made us a consistent team. Till then, we used to rely on our pace bowling or batting. Now, with spin playing such a crucial role, we are a dangerous side. Especially in T20, we can beat any side in the world. You saw how (Mohammad) Nabi, Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) and Rashid (Khan) bowled. They made the difference in this series”.
Shahzad added that the more Afghanistan will play against big teams, the better they will get. The Afghan gloveman went on to add they were able to read the conditions better than Bangladesh in Dehradun.
Mohammad noted, “The more we play against bigger teams the better we will get. When we came here two-three days before the series, we gauged the pitch, the outfield. We knew that it would be a slow wicket and the outfield is not lightning quick so we had to focus more on running between the wickets, so mentally we prepared ourselves accordingly. I am glad that we could implement it consistently”.
Afghanistan will square off with India in their maiden Test match from June 14 at Bengaluru.
Aggressive opening batsman Shahzad revealed that they have worked hard to achieve their Test status in June, last year.
Mohammad Shahzad added it is dream come true for the side.
Shahzad said, “All of us are excited. The first time we started thinking of Test status was around five to six years ago. Since then, all of us had been striving to earn the Test status. Now that we have got it and we are just days away from playing our first Test match, it is a surreal feeling. I am sure we will do well”.
Afghanistan’s cricketing journey is a fairy tale. The country’s players have fought against the odds to make a name for themselves at the topmost level. Thus, they have reaped rich fruits for their hard work.