Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi feels that Afghanistan have the right mix of spinners to challenge teams at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
Nabi will form a three-man spin attack, along with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman. While Nabi is capable of building pressure by accumulating the dots, Khan is Afghanistan’s strike bowler, while Rahman can be handy in the first Powerplay, where he is generally used to curb scoring early.
All three spinners have played their share of cricket in England recently. While Nabi and Khan turned out for Leicestershire and Sussex, respectively, in last year’s T20 Blast, Rahman has struck a deal with Middlesex for the upcoming season, and Nabi feels the experience will hold them in good stead.
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"Ours is a good combination because Rashid and Mujeeb are wicket-taking bowlers and I am more defensive, bowling a lot of dot balls," Nabi told AFP.
"(The T20 Blast) was a great experience for us and was of big help. Rashid and I bowled really well and he also batted well. We will quickly get adjusted to the conditions there hopefully."
While the Afghanistan team prepares for the marquee event with a training camp in South Africa, their spin trio is currently engaged in the 2019 Indian Premier League. Nabi and Khan are team-mates there as well, with both players representing Sunrisers Hyderabad, while Rahman plays for Kings XI Punjab.
The IPL helps a lot. If you play these kind of pressure games before the World Cup, it will help a lot in the tournament against top opposition teams.
Nabi felt the IPL, with its tight finishes and high level of competition, is ideal to get used to dealing with pressure at the World Cup. Nabi is in the middle of a terrific IPL season, where his seven wickets have come at an average of 12.42
And while Khan has had a slightly moderate season by his standards, both bowlers have conceded runs at under six an over. Rahman has had a lukewarm start to his campaign, but has played only three matches.
"The IPL helps a lot," Nabi said. "If you play these kind of pressure games before the World Cup, it will help a lot in the tournament against top opposition teams. It is a white-ball format after all. Yes, it is a change of format, but you can adjust easily to the 50-over game.”
Afghanistan begin their World Cup campaign against Australia in Bristol on 1 June. The last time the two sides met at the World Cup, the Asian team was walloped by 275 runs.
But this is a much-improved Afghanistan team, as they showed at the Asia Cup last year, where they challenged several top teams. Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, just about lost to Pakistan, and held tournament favourites India to a tie.
"We will try our best at the World Cup and challenge every team that we play against," Nabi said. "God-willing, in future we will challenge everybody in Test cricket."
Lead image - AFP
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