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ICC World Cup 2019, Afghanistan SWOT analysis - Spinners hold key as Afghanistan aim to script joyful story

They will find applause wherever they go, they will have to be at their best and yes, they have the resources to act more than just giant-killers this year.

cricket Updated: May 28, 2019 15:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of Afghanistan players
File image of Afghanistan players(Action Images via Reuters)
         

Who does not love an awesome underdog story, especially in a world stage? For Afghanistan, the rise over the last 10 years has been nothing short of unprecedented - they are playing in a World Cup which has comprises 10 best ODI teams in the World.

Defying all odds, playing their home games in India, this group of jovial fighters are a joy to watch on an international field. They will find applause wherever they go, they will have to be at their best and yes, they have the resources to act more than just giant-killers this year.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019

Strengths:

Strong Spin Attack - With the likes of Rashid, Mujeeb & Nabi in the side, Afghanistan spinners have picked up 298 wickets post CWC 2015, only India’s spinners have more (300).

Formidable Form - Have lost 1 of their last 6 series at the International level.

Weakness:

World Cup Inexperience– Just 1 prior appearance in the CWC: 1 win in six matches in 2015.

Inability to score big – With English tracks being capable of hosting big scores, this might be a roadblock considering the fact that they have posted 300+ just thrice in ODIs.

Opportunities:

Asia Cup Form – This is a chance to take inspiration from the Asia Cup 2018 campaign where they finished in the Super 4.

Prospect for youngsters – Stage for Hazratullah Zazai to translate his T20I record to ODIs. Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman has the best economy among active bowlers (Min. 1000 balls) -3.73. Finally, this will be the first World Cup for Rashid Khan.

Threats:

Inexperience on English pitches - Afghanistan have never played an ODI in England.

Change of Captaincy Just before the tournament – Asghar Afghan had been the captain for all three formats for almost four years, leading them in 56 ODIs, 46 T20 internationals and their first two Tests – including their maiden Test victory. His surprise replacement is the 28-year-old all-rounder Gulbadin Naib who has been in and out the side without cementing his place.

First Published: May 28, 2019 15:35 IST

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