Afghanistan v India, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 5, 2014

Afghanistan impress, but batting needs work

Afghanistan's first foray into top-flight ODI cricket ended meekly but they will take a lot out of their performance in the Asia Cup. For starters, they will enter the World Twenty20 in two weeks time a more prepared and aware outfit.

After impressing with the ball against Pakistan, Afghanistan comprehensively beat Bangladesh, a historic first win in only their fourth game against a Test-playing nation. They were spirited in the field against Sri Lanka but the batting was a let-down in that game, as it was in their final league game against India, which they lost by eight wickets.

Afghanistan's problem is in facing spin bowling, and India's Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Amit Mishra accounted for eight of their wickets for 82 runs. However, their overall performance in Bangladesh left the Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi encouraged.

"We didn't come to win the Asia Cup but to learn a lot from the Test nations," Nabi said. "We won against Bangladesh, which is a big credit to Afghanistan. We have done well with bowling and fielding. Our batting in the middle part has to improve, and we will try harder.

"We tried to fight against them but Jadeja and Ashwin bowled really well in the first half. They found a lot of turn. In the second innings there was no turn. Score of 159 wasn't good enough to threaten India. But we are learning how to bat for 50 overs."

Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari each made more than 150 runs in four innings. Noor Ali Zadran, Nawroz Mangal and Nabi, however, didn't make a big score, and Mohammad Shahzad and Najibullah Zadran averaged only 10 and 9.50 respectively.

Having made it to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Afghanistan will be keen to improve their batting and Nabi said they could employ a batting coach from either of the host countries.

"We have come to world cricket just a while ago. We need time," he said. "We have a lot of camps before the 2015 World Cup, and we will bring a batting coach from Australia or New Zealand as well."

Afghanistan's biggest strength is their bowling attack, particularly its variety and consistency. Their quicks have impressed but it will be important to maintain their fitness. "We have time to rest after the World T20s for two or three weeks," Nabi said. "We have six-week fitness camp thereafter."

Afghanistan will now travel to Chittagong to play two warm-up T20 matches, and return to Dhaka for the World T20 opener against Bangladesh on March 16, a match that is foremost in Nabi's mind.

"I think we are a better T20 side, because we play a lot of this format against Associate members and also in Afghanistan. Already Bangladesh is under pressure against Afghanistan, we will try our best to beat them."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on March 14, 2014, 17:32 GMT

    Afghanistan impress,but batting needs work

  • Zalmai on March 7, 2014, 0:51 GMT

    Surely Nabi and his team gained a lot from this tournament.

    The world can clearly see the talent in these guys and a bright future awaits them. ICC should help them more both financially and also by encouraging other teams to provide opportunities for them. Especially countries like India and Srilanka can help them a lot. But so far unfortunately India has done nothing to help them..what a shame..

    Batting is a serious issue in their team they need a good batting coach or they will continue to suffer..they also need to learn how to play under pressure which they lack this @ the moment especially during batting..

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    Yes afghan team in t20 worldcup will take one or two big teams . Good bowling attack.dont know why hamid hasan their best bowler keep going out n in. Please do not change order of batsman let m.s play opener. Insha allah they can come to semi final. Good luck afghan heroes. Brave boys

  • Manesh on March 6, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    Well, it will be interesting to see the WT20. Anything can happen in those games. Afgan give a good fight to Indians in the last WT20. In the current form, they may beat BD and other team in the group and qualify from it. All the best for that!

  • Android on March 6, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    Great Article. thank you Cricinfo for encouraging our team. Yes, we need to work on our batting side as we don't have any batting couch.I think at this stage AFG can't afford for a better batting couch but I hope ICC helps them alittle financially. we need these type of tournaments to boost our strenght and learn from our weakness. A crazy cricket fan from Germany:)

  • Ata on March 6, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    Afghanistan should hire Raffatullah Mohmand in their team, He will bring stability to their Middle order and new Afghan players around him will learn from him too.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    One thing is obvious. These guys, at this early stage, are playing much better than many other current Test teams played after 30-40 international matches. The bowling is indeed better than half the Test nations. Even where batting is concerned, they have the talent, but need a little work on. For one, they will need to play against quality bowling attacks a little more regularly. Plus, the fact that their u-19 side is doing even better (beat Aus, SL in the WC) assures a good future.

  • Android on March 5, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    good job . they are good side. just need more games against big teams. board and icc should step in and arrange them more games. bowling is ok but batting not good enough. looks more like pakistan that bowling working almost all the time but batting inconsistent. need to work on batting.

    over all good experience for them.but couple of games are not enough. should get atleast 7-8 games against big team each year. during ipl, many teams can get 5-6 first choice international players to play an odi with them. thats where icc can help these guys.

  • No featured comments at the moment.