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Title win will boost Afghanistan cricket, says Mangal

Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal has admitted that his side will be under pressure in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup against Scotland from 2 December-6 December

Nowroz Mangal hoping for the best in the final
Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal has admitted that his side will be under pressure in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup against Scotland from 2 December-6 December.

"The consistent run in the tournament so far does put some pressure on us. But I do believe that we will go into the final as favourites," said Mangal.
But a win in the title round will be a crowning glory for Mangal and his team.

"I keep telling the boys that the best moment in the tournament is yet to come. A win will show that Afghanistan cricket is growing fast. It will show how despite lack of facilities people play cricket in Afghanistan. A title win will definitely boost us," added Mangal.

Mangal attributes the success of the side to the fact that the team is desperate to play at the highest level.

"We would like to play Test cricket in the future so that's the reason we have produced some amazing results. In our mind we are playing Test cricket not four-day or first-class cricket. The entire country is following our progress, so we have been playing positive and entertaining cricket."

Mangal thanked both ICC and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for all the help extended to Afghanistan.

"I would like to thank ICC and the ACC for supporting us in our difficult time. It is because of them that we are able to perform well in all forms of cricket; I think we have produced some new players in this tournament and we are still trying to find some future stars."

Mangal informed that it has been a honour for him leading the side during the course of the tournament. "We have very good players in the team and all have been supportive of me. This has made my job easy."

Mangal singled out wicketkeeper-batsman Mohd Shehzad and paceman Hamid Hassan for special praise. "For me every Afghan player is important but Shehzad and Hamid have been the key. Hamid has picked up 22 wickets in the last two matches and the opposition is worried about him."

The Afghan captain believes the strength of the side is the presence of four all-rounders. "We have four all-rounders Mohd Nabi, Samiullah, Mohd Shehzad and Mirwais Ashraf, they make a huge difference to the balance of the side," said Mangal.

Mangal himself will go into the final on the back of his first first-class hundred against Kenya in the final league game of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

"We won against a quality team like Kenya in their own backyard which was good. What made it special was that I scored a century. It was a very important century for me because I getting out on 35 and 40 on many occasions. But I learnt from our (new) coach Rashid Latif that the main thing is stay on the pitch and wait for the bad deliveries."

Mangal has only high praise for new coach Latif who began his full-time stint from the Kenya game. "He has settled well and has good knowledge of the game and Afghanistan. He loves to hold training camps in Afghanistan which is good for our cricket and nation. He is like a father figure for all of us and treats all players equally. We are learning lots of things from him. He is positive all the time and likes challenges. He never worries about failure. He has changed our approach during games and also our fitness level is high now."

Currently a major chunk of the Afghan team is busy participating in the ongoing Asian Games. "We have done fitness training for the Asians Games and for the final, Fitness is most important part of any sports."

Mangal has healthy respect for his team's opponents, Scotland. "We may have beaten Scotland on their home ground during the league stage, but they are still good team in my point of view."

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