Pakistani bowling great Wasim Akram has said that the teams need to be wary of a unit like Afghanistan, especially in the T20 format, which is unpredictable and a team can change the course of the game.
Akram said that while Afghanistan may not qualify beyond the Super 12s stage, they could pose problems for teams fighting for a spot in the knockouts. Afghanistan will be coming into the main round with a warm-up match victory over two-time and current defending champions West Indies.
“Teams have to be wary of Afghanistan, I am telling you now. Apart from their batting, their bowlers are mystery bowlers. There is Rashid (Khan), Mujeeb Ur Rahman. There was a young boy who played in the PSL named Noor (Ahmad). He is a 16-year-old and he is a very different kind of chinaman. You can’t really understand his googly,” said Akram on Salaam Cricket 2021.
“Batsmen like Mohammad Nabi, they are not afraid of losing. Afghanistan can put many big teams under pressure. They have also played a lot of cricket in the UAE. They are a very, very dangerous side,” he said.
Afghanistan Are An Unknown Quantity: Sunil Gavaskar
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar also echoed Wasim Akram’s words and called Afghanistan an unknown quantity. Afghanistan is clubbed in group 2 of the Super 12s round along with India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Scotland, and second qualifying teams from group A, likely to be Namibia or Ireland.
Sunil Gavaskar said that the fact that Afghanistan has no expectations on them makes them a difficult side to beat and adds to it the fact that data analysts of other teams may not have as much information on them as other sides.
“When there are no expectations weighing you down, you can just play without any fear. Afghanistan are an unknown quantity. Those who are handling data for the teams won’t have too much on Afghanistan. For teams, 20 overs might be too less to understand Afghanistan,” he said.
However, the great Indian opener pointed out that though Afghanistan players have a lot of experience of playing in T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL), their experience on the international circuit is low.
“They have played a lot of IPL and PSL matches but they don’t have too much experience of the pressure that comes with international cricket,” he said.