28 October 2020

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Rashid Khan: Cricket World Cup Experience Will Help Afghanistan Gain Strength

Written by  Manager2
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Friday August 30, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Rashid Khan believes that the experience of competing at the Cricket World Cup in the summer in England was invaluable for him and his teammates - despite all nine matches ending in defeat.
The Afghans, making only their second appearance at the 50-over tournament, ended up bottom of the group table with no points for their endeavors in England and Wales.
But Rashid, speaking in Abu Dhabi, as he and his teammates prepare for a tour of Bangladesh next month, was upbeat on how the competition had played out for them.
“They were all tough games but we learnt a lot from the experience," he said. "We learnt what it takes to be on the big stage in terms of preparations.
“Of course, we have a lot of areas that need to improve but that’s our plan for the future. I’m sure we will improve when we play more games against the established countries.”
To say that Afghanistan's time at the World Cup was a mixed bag would be something of an understatement.
They gave Pakistan a big scare at Headingley, losing by three wickets as their more experienced opponents were grateful for an unbeaten 49 from Imad Wasim to see them home in the final over.
India were also given a fright as excellent bowling restricted Virat Kohli's side to 224-8 in Southampton, and it took a last over hat-trick from Mohammed Shami to foil their run chase as they fell 11 runs short.
But they conceded the highest score of the tournament against eventual champions England in Manchester, hit for 397-6 as they went down by 150 runs.
Rashid, who has been appointed captain of Afghanistan across all three formats of the game following the World Cup, said he was aware of which areas need working on.
“We were a bit inconsistent, particularly in our batting,” said Rashid. “But look, as the least experienced side from the 10 teams in the World Cup we can take a lot of positives forward.
“We got beat pretty badly in some games but we also came close to upsetting a couple of big teams.
"Our batting was one of the main concerns but scoring 288 against the West Indies was another high point in the World Cup."
There were some tough moments for Rashid personally.
He suffered the ignominy of being struck for 11 sixes, the most by a bowler in a World Cup match, against England as he went for 0-110, which was also a competition record, off nine overs at Manchester.
He took six wickets in the tournament and admitted that he had not been surprised that he and his fellow Afghan bowlers had toiled at times.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage and it’s always hard against the best players from around the world,” he said.
“I’m working on the consistency of my deliveries, mainly to bowl a good line and length. The more I play the better I become, I think.
"I want to bowl in good length areas which I always wanted to do.”
Attention has now moved on to the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, with Rashid and his teammates spending time in Abu Dhabi training in preparation.
It is not just his bowling that Rashid is working on ahead of the upcoming action.
“I want to contribute as much as I can for the team,” he said. “If I can score some runs to supplement with my bowling, it can be valuable for my team.”
Afghanistan's tour begins on Sunday with a two-day match against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in Chattogram.
They then play only their third Test match in their history against Bangladesh from September 5.
That is then followed by a triangular Twenty20 series between the home nation and Zimbabwe that will take place from September 14-21, with games in Dhaka and Chattogram.


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