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Afghanistan will start beating big teams in a few years, says Venkatesh Prasad

21 Oct 2018 CricTracker

Venkatesh Prasad. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Afghanistan have seen a meteoric rise in the world of cricket over the past several months and former Indian pacer Venkatesh Prasad also feels positive about the side’s future. The 49-year-old ex-cricketer, who has served in capacities of coach and selector, is the head coach of the Jalalabad-based Nangarhar Leopards in the ongoing Afghanistan Premier League (APL). He predicted a bright future for Afghanistan cricket after his side crashed out of the tournament after losing in the semi-final.

The Leopards were thrashed by 171 runs by the Balkh Legends in a one-sided semi-final at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on October 19. Chasing a formidable 236 to win after Legends openers Chris Gayle (54) and Darwish Rasooli (78) slammed half centuries, the Leopards were bundled out for a paltry 64 in 13.1 overs, thanks to some spirited bowling from Legends captain Mohammad Nabi (4 for 12) and Qais Ahmed (3 for 18). Nabi was picked as the man of the match for his all-round performance (47 runs beside the wickets).

Prasad, who has been the coach to Indian Premier League teams like Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore, applauded Afghanistan cricket after his assignment in the inaugural APL came to the end with the exit of the Leopards. “Most of the fast bowlers who have played here have been bowling some very, very good yorkers and this is something that I’ve not seen from them in the past,” Gulf News cited the former Indian cricketer as telling the media on Friday.

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‘Afghanistan players will gain from playing with big names’

“If this development continues or these players continue playing in this format alongside the other big players like Gayle and Shahid Afridi and [Brendon] McCullum, then they are going to take their game to the next level,” he said.

Prasad, who has taken 292 international wickets between 1994 and 2001, said coaching has been a challenge for me and it was a big opportunity for him for he came to know about more talents. On the Leopards’ loss, Prasad said they gave away too many runs.

Recalling Afghanistan’s performance in the Asia Cup held last month, Prasad said the side thumped sides like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and came very close to defeating Pakistan and India. “This shows the talent they have and their hunger to perform at the highest level. They are willing to take their game to the next level and a platform like this [APL] will help them immensely. Another three to five years and they will start beating the big teams,” Prasad said.

Afghanistan also gained the status to play Tests this year and took on India in their inaugural game in Bengaluru in June.

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