New Delhi: Afghanistan cricketers have the talent but their coach Inzamam-ul-Haq wants them to get more exposure against the Test playing nations in order to take their game to the next level.
Afghanistan are virtually out of the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 after losing their opening two games against Sri Lanka and Australia but the Asghar Stanikzai-led side displayed great character and fighting spirit in both the defeats.
The boys have worked hard. It feels good that people are appreciating Afghanistan. We have qualified for the World Cup and played some good cricket," Inzamam told reporters on the eve of Afghanistan's next game against England at the Feroz Shah Kotla, here on Wednesday.
We might not have won a single game, but we have played good cricket. If we improve a level, we can win. This Afghanistan team has got all the talent, they just need more exposure. The more they play international cricket, the more their talent will improve," the former Pakistan captain added.
Minnows Afghanistan, who advanced to the Super 10 stage for the first time, would be aiming to spoil the party of a few teams, starting with England on Wednesday to register their maiden win in the event.
Afghanistan's leap into the big league especially in the last few years during which they played in 2015 50-over World Cup and the ongoing World Twenty20, is a one of the fairytales of world cricket. They first played World T20 in 2010 in the West Indies.
But on the flip side, just like any other cricket playing associate member of ICC, the Afghans have no matches or series scheduled against top teams in the recent future.
Led by skipper Stanikzai, the Afghan batting department, which also has Mohammad Shahzad and middle-order batsman Mohammed Nabi, crossed 150-run mark in both the matches. In fact, chasing a huge 210, they gave South Africa a mighty scare and were 105 for two in 10 overs before losing the plot.
Their performance at the big stage has managed to draw plenty of attention with legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Rahul Dravid lavishing praise on the Afghans.
Completely agree. Spirit & performance of teams like Afghanistan & Oman echo the need for more teams at WC & beyond! https://t.co/H190gk7YdE— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) March 21, 2016
Asked about the adulation his team received from greats of the game, Stanikzai said: "Definitely it is a proud moment to read such encouraging tweets from cricket legends. It's true we played good cricket as a team and we need ICC support in the upcoming World Cups.
"Recently, we played two T20 and two ODI series with Zimbabwe. So we have beaten a full member in four series. So you can compare how competitive we are and what we can do if given a chance in future World Cups.
"Many believed at the start of the tournament that it would be a one-sided game against Afghanistan, but we really prepared and planned and scared our opponents a bit," he said speaking through an interpreter.
"We are just not here to participate. We are here to beat a full member. We are a side that believes we have the capability to beat any of them (full member nations)," he said....