Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) (AFP)
“Everyone knows that at home in Afghanistan, a lot has been happening and everything in recent months,” he admitted during the press conference before the game in Sharjah on Monday.
“But from a cricket point of view, everyone is ready for this World Cup and we have prepared well. “
“The fans are really waiting because the only happiness in Afghanistan is cricket,” he said.
“If you’re ready to do well in the tournament and we win the games, the fans are really happy and there will be a lot of smiles on their faces. “
After the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August, the cricket team briefly faced the possibility of being banned from the tournament if women’s play was interrupted.
Then star spinner Rashid Khan stepped down as captain before visa issues in the Gulf created another obstacle in the team’s path.
The versatile Nabi took over as skipper.
“There was a little problem when we got to Dubai,” said Nabi, acknowledging that the last 10 days were not “ideal”.
Afghanistan is only a second-tier “associated nation”, but its strength in T20 allowed it to qualify directly for the main group stage while full test nations Bangladesh and Sri Lanka , had to fight until the first round.
Nabi said Afghanistan hopes to be promoted to elite rank.
“We are doing well in the tournament and inchallah, we will be the next team,” he said.
Afghanistan’s success in T20 relies on its powerful hitters and the bowling spin of its “Big Three”, Khan, Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
In total, eight of their 15-man World Cup squad have already played T20 professional cricket in other countries.
“I think it’s for cricketers who play cricket all over the world, especially five, six, seven players are playing franchise cricket different from the last six months,” said Nabi, who played during the recently ended Indian Premier League season in the United Arab Emirates.
“We play cricket a lot in the United Arab Emirates and we know the conditions,” he said.
“Everyone back home thinks Afghanistan has the best team under these conditions. And our team is confident, ”he said, warning that“ we have already targeted most of the teams in our group ”.
Afghanistan are in Group 2 with India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Namibia as well as the Scots, which they face on Monday.
Veteran Scottish batsman Calum MacLeod has said his team are wary of Afghan bowling.
“It will be a challenge against all of their spinners,” he said. “I think everyone understands the attack Afghanistan suffered with three world class spinners there.
“Like all the top teams you play against, if you let the bowlers play right against you, their skills will be too good for you for a period of time, so I think you have to find a method to put the pressure back on them. “
MacLeod said having had to play three qualifying games last week in Oman could play Scotland’s advantage.
“I think the good thing about having the first round is that we came with confidence,” he said. “This will be Afghanistan’s first game in the tournament, and we can also go there and put the pressure on them.
© 2021 AFP