Afghanistan aim for semifinal spot in the upcoming World Cup

Senior Afghanistan players have acknowledged the captain change in front of the World Cup and the rise   of the players like Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman has raised Afghanistan’s desires as they focus on a semifinal spot in the upcoming ICC Men’s World Cup 2019, Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai, the chief selector, said on Tuesday, May 7.

Recently Afghanistan named new captain Gulbadin Naib as a replacement for Asghar Afghan just before the World Cup as the cricket board went for three different captains in three different formats. But the change made some players unhappy as the new T20 captain of Afghanistan Rashid Khan and former captain Mohammad Nabi criticized the change on the social media.

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“The team members, including Rashid and Nabi, are presently cheerful for Gulbadin,” said Ahmadzai. “He is certifiably not another man. He has been playing for a long time, and has captaincy involvement with the first-class and under-19 level.

“Asghar himself has said that Gulbadin is like his younger brother who trusts that Asghar’s experience will prove to be useful in the World Cup. They are an assembled front at this point. Changes occur, as Sri Lanka did with their leadership,” the former fast-bowler added.

Afghanistan have been established themselves as a strong team slowly. Recently, they have been in superb form as they won the ICC World Cup Qualifier tournament against West Indies in the final last year. They also knocked out Sri Lanka from the Asia Cup and tied with India last year.

They picked up their first test win against Ireland last month. The upcoming World Cup will be second in their history. Afghanistan finishes sixth in a seven-team pool last time.

So, Ahmadzai is hopeful of something bigger this time. He also neglected the over-reliance on some specific players like Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. “There was no Rashid or Mujeeb in 2015 World Cup. So this time we are going for a semifinal spot. With the group organization we have, we can surely surprise a couple of teams,” Ahmadzai said.

“Hamid Hassan is again into the quick bowling assault and that is a major boost for us. He has been an extraordinary quick bowler for Afghanistan and will lead the pace assault with Dawlat Zadran.”

Afghanistan will begin their World Cup against Australia on June 1 in Bristol. Before this, Afghanistan will visit England and Scotland to play two-match ODI series against Scotland with World Cup preparation in mind. The first ODI will play on Wednesday, June 8 at Edinburgh.

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