Cricket

Afghan squad upbeat ahead of Cricket World Cup

2019-04-29 17:51
Gulbadin Naib
Gulbadin Naib (Getty Images)

Kabul - Afghanistan's cricket team are upbeat about their chances at next month's Cricket World Cup, skipper Gulbadin Naib said on Monday, after the squad spent several weeks training in South Africa.

Naib said conditions in South Africa, with bouncy wickets and good pitches, were similar to what they expect in Britain.

"When I look at my team, we prepared very well the last couple of months," Naib told AFP at the British embassy in Kabul, ahead of the team's departure for the Cup.

"The guys have a big morale, everyone is very excited to be participating in the World Cup."

Naib earlier this month was named as captain, replacing Asghar Afghan who has still been included in the squad.

The move sparked some controversy coming so close to the World Cup, but the 28-year-old Naib dismissed the row as overblown, saying it was "no big deal" and that the team had several other players with captaincy experience.

British deputy ambassador Giles Lever said the World Cup provided Afghanistan with an opportunity to show an expected global audience of up to 1.5 billion a side of the war-torn country that is often overlooked.

"Not war, not political divisions but Afghans working together on the world stage to achieve your common dream, which is victory in the World Cup," Lever said.

Since beating the odds to compete at the 2010 World Twenty20 in England, Afghanistan have qualified for all major international tournaments and recorded their first Test victory against Ireland last month.

Afghanistan open their World Cup campaign against Australia in Bristol on June 1 and are regarded as dark horses, having beaten former champions Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup last year as well as forcing a tie with giants India.

Many Afghan cricketers learned the game in refugee camps in Pakistan, their families having fled the Soviet invasion in the 1980s.

Asked if he thought his team could go all the way, Naib said: "I hope so. It's cricket ... anything can happen."

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk
Breaking News

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

Who will win this year's Cricket World Cup?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.