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World Cup 2019: Afghanistan will certainly give scare to certain teams in England, opines Anil Kumble

19 May 2019 CricTracker

Anil Kumble. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former India captain Anil Kumble believes Afghanistan has the potential to spring quite a few big surprises in the upcoming World Cup. Afghanistan has come a long way since achieving its ODI status in 2009. They are one of the most if not the most exciting teams in the world and are constantly threatening to become one of the big boys of the game. The likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman have become world beaters and have made Afghanistan a force to reckon with in the shorter formats.

Since playing their first World Cup in 2015, Afghanistan has registered impressive series wins over Zimbabwe, UAE and Ireland and drew an ODI series against West Indies 1-1. They also whitewashed Bangladesh in T20Is to prove their credentials as one of the fast-rising teams in the world of cricket. Last year, they won the World Cup qualifier, beating the Chris Gayle-powered West Indies in the final to make it to the main event.

And with Afghanistan impressing with every outing, Anil Kumble believes they are capable enough to ‘give a scare to certain teams in England’. The legendary leg-spinner pointed out Afghanistan’s fine run in last year’s Asia Cup before saying that the likes of Rashid, Nabi and Mujeeb will make life difficult for the opposition.

“Afghanistan was the second-best team in the Asia Cup. They tied the game against India, gave a scare to Bangladesh and Pakistan. Afghanistan as a whole has been helped by players playing T20 leagues around the world. Rashid Khan is a hero and Mohammad Nabi is fantastic as an all-rounder, there is Mujeeb and some other wonderful players. They will certainly give a scare to certain teams in England,” Kumble told CricketNext.

“In the shorter formats especially T20s batsmen don’t pick some like Rashid or Mujeeb. If they can get their batting together and score 250-260 they’ll be very competitive Mohammad Shahzad can just go and blast or get out first ball. He is that sort of player who can put the opposition under pressure. They have the ability but all depends on how their batsmen are able to cope,” he added.

Kumble’s advise for Afghanistan

With Afghanistan still being inexperienced at the world stage, being an experienced player-cum-coach, Kumble had a word of wisdom for them. The former India head coach suggested the nation to try to bat first and then make things tough for the opponents with their quality spinners.

“Their best game plan should be to put runs on the board and not chase. They have the spinners to pick wickets and put pressure on the opposition. It is important that Afghanistan structure their innings in such a way that they can get to 260-270 then they will be asking a lot of questions,” he said.

Afghanistan will open their World Cup campaign against defending champions Australia on June 1.

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