Afghanistan’s rise in world cricket is one of the most exciting developments in a sport that is attempting to break new ground. It was less than a decade ago that the war-ravaged nation began taking cricket seriously and their rapid progress has been widely acclaimed. They go to Sri Lanka for their second World Twenty20, having made their de
but in the Caribbean two years ago. They were also just one victory short of qualifying for last year’s 50-overs World Cup.
Twenty20 cricket suits the maverick style of Afghan cricketers. Their batsmen are not afraid to play shots in the air and take great delight in smashing the best bowlers out of the ground. The batsmen to watch out for are opener Karim Sadiq, wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Stanikzai, who are all attractive strokemakers.
Skipper Nawroz Mangal leads the spin attack alongside Sadiq and Samiullah Shenwari, while the big-built Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran are new-ball bowlers capable of striking vital blows. Both England and India can ill-afford to take the Afghans lightly in the preliminary group stage.
Afghanistan squad: Nawroz Mangal (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbodin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Izatullah Dawlatzai, Karim Sadiq, Javed Ahmadi, Mohammad Nasim Baras, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Asghar Stanikzai, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shapoor Zadran.