Afghanistan v India, World T20 2012, Group A

Inexperience the difference, says Afghanistan coach

Abhishek Purohit in Colombo

September 20, 2012

Comments: 37 | Text size: A | A

Afghanistan celebrate a wicket, Afghanistan v India, World T20, Group A, Colombo, September, 19, 2012
Afghanistan kept up with India for most of the game © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Kabir Khan
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: Afghanistan | India

While India were expected to win, Afghanistan were supposed to display the spark and fight that have made them a top second-rung team. They are the underdogs everyone loves. Almost every wicket they took and boundary they struck was cheered in the press box - the loudest reserved for Mohammad Shahzad's promised helicopter shot.

Their captain Nawroz Mangal had said before the game that Afghanistan wanted to compete, and prove that they belong to the top level. And compete they did. For more than three-quarters of the match, they kept up with India, refusing to let them get ahead and jolting them repeatedly. But their inexperience showed when they were found wanting at critical moments - dropping several catches, failing to keep wickets intact for a late charge, and so on.

Kabir Khan, the Afghanistan coach, acknowledged the slip-ups but said his side had had a chance of upsetting India.

"We made a few mistakes on the field. The boys dropped a few catches," Kabir said. "That could have reduced India's total by at least 15-20 runs. And while batting, at some stages we were well in the game but then we lost a couple of wickets in a very short time. Overall, I would say our team played much better compared to the last World Twenty20 game against India [in 2010]. I think we have impressed them. Our performance was impressive but we could have done better."

Kabir didn't think the dropped chances had a huge impact on the total India managed, saying that their batting depth would have bailed them out anyway. "Had we taken those catches, it would have meant one quality batsman following another. They would have scored at least 140 in any case. Sometimes in cricket, you take one wicket, you follow it up with some more wickets. But the way we started, I thought even 160 was chaseable. If we had batted a little sensibly, we could have achieved it."

Afghanistan had planned to target the part-timer with India going in with four specialist bowlers, but Yuvraj Singh ended up taking three crucial wickets. "We knew they were one bowler short as they were playing with four bowlers. We were looking to play Ashwin a bit defensively and not give him wickets because he was the only one who was going to create problems on that wicket because it was not supporting pace bowlers at all. There was a chance. We thought if we played Ashwin well and scored off the other bowlers, and cashed in on the four overs to be bowled by the non-regular bowler, we had a very good chance."

They had a sniff alright. Virat Kohli felt Afghanistan were tricky opponents for India to face. "They had nothing to lose so that too is a big factor which is not discussed much, that when you are playing against a team that is ranked lower they have nothing to lose," Kohli said. "When they come out to bowl they will go all out and the same applies to their batting. They will come out and play their shots and if they can execute them then it is a problem for the bowling side."

In the end, though, Kabir felt Afghanistan's lack of exposure at the highest level - this was only their fifth international game against a Test-playing side - was the difference.

"That's a factor because those boys are not exposed to international cricket."

"Just the sheer pressure of playing the side we were playing, the crowd, the cameras... it all came together. I have to point out that those who dropped catches are very good fielders. I think the pressure factor came into it. India as a big team knows how to handle pressure. Then again, we also play less international cricket, and less against the top teams. We played India only twice in two years but if we had played them five or six times, the result could have been different."

The day when it actually is different may not be far off, provided Afghanistan are given the opportunities they deserve.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Abhishek Purohit

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by shaantanu on (September 21, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

I wish India would lend its support to the devlopment of Afghan cricket just like they supported SL during its early days.But with BCCI becoming so myopic i dont expect the same support.....just hope Afganistan develops into a good cricketing nation.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

Wicky ROy or whatever....we Afghans are not Pak B Team.. Afghanistan and India are the biggest Nations in Asia in terms of history and Pakistan are only 60 years old country so I feel ashamed to be called under their names. about this game we entertained India and could have finished very close but game is a game. India will surely win this tournament and I hope they do. Afg are having one more against England and I hope we make an upset otherwise with three years cricket history of my country I will still be proud the way we fought with two champions in our group. Love you Afghanistan.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (September 21, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

@WickyRoy.paklover. It will be more funny once the pak C team BD beat you are reach can laugh at that time. Asia cup final will hunt you.

Posted by Meety on (September 21, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

@KiwiRocker- on (September 20 2012, 10:21 AM GMT) - yay, the LITTLE man strikes again! Such intelligence is outstanding! It amazes me that you can actually think & type at the same time!

Posted by Meety on (September 21, 2012, 1:25 GMT)

@shaantanu on (September 20 2012, 08:12 AM GMT) - agreed. T20 is a great format to expose developing countries to the sport of cricket. Tests are the supreme format. When Kenya whithered on the vine, the ICC really got proactive & started on pathways for sides to improve (Intercontinental Cup) & The many levels of the WCL. It clearly works as Afghanistan came for WCL 7, to become the first Afiliate to get ODI status. Ireland & Afghanistan are by no means anywhere near as good as the top 4 to 6 test nations, (particularly in a Test environment), however, they are showing more & more, that they have the ability to compete with Zimbabwe (in particular) & Bangladesh. I would imagine for Zim & Bang fans - they would like to see their team play against Ire & Zim as they stand a better chance of winning& it can boost a players confidence for when they play higher ranked teams!

Posted by l2ajeev on (September 20, 2012, 19:06 GMT)

@Raidu99: If you think that SA started as minnows when they came back or rather re-admitted into international cricket, then I'm afraid you do not know your cricket history...

Posted by iNaren on (September 20, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

I think Afgans had played well. Its just the matter of 20 overs and they've put all of it into the match. Any other team might have faced the same situation. But when it comes to talent that either side have, Afgans are no where near. Had they not gotten rid of Virender Sehwag in the early overs, the story would've been different. On his day, Sehwag alone can answer to all the players in Afganistan.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Not Correctly said by AFG coach..Indian batsmen were not gone all out..fell only 5 wickets..we have better batsmen in the lower order..Irfan can play well till the lower order..It is acceptable that had bit disappoint on indan bowling..senior Zaheer is out form..But we can manage with spinners..BUT HOPES are ALIVE!! COME ON INDIA..

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Love Afghan team, The big teams now know that they have a threat now

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

Its like a practice match for team India only...They don't have to worry for such underdog teams...They should prepare for semifinal & final now....

Posted by DaGameChanger on (September 20, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

@KiwiRocker..thats why Pakistanhas not beaten India in 3 years and never won T20 against India. ROFL..

Posted by Mushtanda on (September 20, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

Wicky.Roy- you seem to have forgotten that the Afghans almost BEAT pakistan IN pakistan not too long ago.

Posted by krishna_cricketfan on (September 20, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

Afghanistan will definitely become a good side. As for not taking catches, they are following their brothers in Pakistan. Another brother, India has improved a lot in fielding due to the youngsters. Afghanistan will overtake Bangla bothers with more exposure. They are strong, can bowl fast and spin as well. Bowlers are required to win matches and I am sure Afghans will win a lot in the future. I wish them all the best.

Posted by sam_screaming on (September 20, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

India was expected to win and they won. I think they were complacent yesterday while batting. The tournament have a long way to go before anything can be discussed on finalists. Afghanistan looks a good team but they seriously need to learn how to play short ball. The current afghanistan team will be bowled out under 200 in most of the ODIs and tests against quality teams. There is a lot of talk about promoting afghanistan to highest level, i think its not fair to judge them only on the basis of T20. Mohammed Shehzad may look entertaining in a T20 but he is no where near a correct batsman.

Posted by Etrnlwanderer on (September 20, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

With India's pop gun attack, just play a best of 3 T20 games with Afghanistan and probably India will lose at least 1 game. What Virat Kohli says is true; hen a team playing without fear comes up against test playing teams, usually the easiest team to upset among the "BIG" teams is India because they actually dont have any bowlers.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

Thanks Every One For Good Comments About Afghan Team:

1 - There is no doubt that Afghan team has talent but I am not agree with what Afghan coach said A catch is a catch you can win a match with catch maybe it was not a good day for them but on the other hand it was a good day for India they miss they catch India win. otherwise India would have never go higher than 130 believe they would have go under pressure and just get `1 or 2 runs not big hits any why a win is a win Congrats India just Pray so Afghan can beat England and go to the Super 8 INSHALLAH

Posted by Seether1 on (September 20, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@KiwiRocker: That is one of the funniest comments I have read on this site. I agree, Australia needs to battle it out amongst the likes of Ireland and Afghanistan.

Posted by Raidu99 on (September 20, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

I accept Afghans played really well.But just winding back into game,Afghans are not able to perform constantly in a single game..and the people all over are comparing the team with that of Indians.Indians are certainly slow starters in the ICC championships but as the tournament progresses they will become the toughest of all..It has already been proved in the past 2011 world cup..and coming to afghans they are no way can be compared with India..5 good overs from the bowlers and some attacking shots from the batsmen does not make a team strong.It is the attitude of the players while dealing with the opposition makes team stronger..dropped catches,blunders in fielding,inconsistent batting are not the qualities of a good cricket teams..Guys dont forget SA when started as minnos showed a great impact on the world cup with some consistent performance..

Posted by Lord_Dravid on (September 20, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

I love afghan cricket and have always said that they should replace bangladesh who are still a waste of time after 12 years of international cricket. However i dont think in this match experience was the only factor which is abit silly of the coach to say, india has far better talent than afghan @papun jena: agree with you.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (September 20, 2012, 10:41 GMT)


Posted by KiwiRocker- on (September 20, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

Pupun- I agree with you. India has no talent as compared to Afganistan! India has yet to produce a bowler who bowls as fast as Shapoor Zardan..hamid Hassan and etc. India's fastest bowler was Anil Kumble who was slightly slower than Shahid Khan Afridi!

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (September 20, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Meety: I have an even better suggestion that ICC may like to arrange a tri series for Ireland, Afghanistan and Australia. I mean Australia is the lowest ranked T20 team and surely these lowly ranked teams should play together and improve...I bet if such a tri series is arranged then Australia will again lose against Afghanistan as they did against B'desh or as they did recently against Pakistan. It is a matter of time before Australian's beg Mathew Hayden to return and rescue them...I mean how old is Brad Hogg?

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

what a joke.To take catches u don't need any experience!!!!Afghan coach thinks their talent level is same as india's. LLLLOOOOOLLLLLL ,u are kidding me man!!!Better change the coach man he is giving u wrong ideas instead of making u learn, how to catch a cricket ball...

Posted by chinmoy_dash on (September 20, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Indian's are generally slow starters in the ICC events.So nothing to worry as the tournament builds up ,the men in blue will gather momentum.I m a bit concerned about the openers.I think Gambhir should be rested in the aZnext game and Harbhajan should be played.Virat can move to the opening slot and Rohit Sharma can come in at number 3.As far as Afgans are concerned they showed the right spirit,they have a good bowling attack and have two really good new ball bowlers.If they are taken care of the team could become really competitive in years to come.

Posted by menonspeak on (September 20, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

20/20 is a format where upsets can happen....don;t take too much into the afgan game...India usually starts very slow,and inshallah will peak in the super 8's...the only problem i see is playing one batsman too many....with this depth harbajan singh should play and Zak's form at the death rattled dhoni more than anything else!

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (September 20, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Afgan will replace BD soon and then Pak in the coming years. All the best Afgan!

Posted by Expansion on (September 20, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

I am seeing Pakistan like atitude in Afghanistan.They have a raw talent like them.If they are given right kind of coaching and training they are the force to reckon in world cricket.Hope one day they would come with flying colours.

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (September 20, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

well played afgan.. india defeated srilnak more than 10 times and 5 tiems in srilanka in recent.. but inexperience afgan gave such a fight to india..hmmm. one cna imagne now with all expreince how poor is srilanka ..only paper lions

Posted by shaantanu on (September 20, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

@Meety:u talk a lot of needs to spread to really make it a global sport n as such the associates need a lot of support.among the different formats only T20 has the ability to generate interest in new countries though i m not really a fan of the format(not bcos India is poor in this format)but bcos it really does not test the mettle of a p layer in the true sense.....coming to the match in question it was heartening to see Afganistan play the way it did.though India have been poor it does not take credit away from the Afghans.My best wishes to the Afghans for the future.We Indians have a soft corner for them.

Posted by Adeel9 on (September 20, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

Afghanistan is a very good prospect. Give these guys some time and exposure to big teams and they'll be a force in no time.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Congratulations Afghanistan that small war ravaged country One has seen the country's sportsmen excelling similarly in other sports too With such a low level of international exposure they displayed tremendous skills and guts to fight the best of teams and give them a bit of a jolt I hope they just keep up that spirit, practice and and play like they have each time they are out on the field More exposure to top flight teams will push them into the big league for sure

Posted by sachinaasuri11 on (September 20, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

match could have gone to the wire but afgan team was less experienced.but i am pretty sure afgan team will become top t20 team in few years.

Posted by Meety on (September 20, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

I think clearly the average cricket fan wants to see more of Afghanistan & Ireland. The ICC needs to address the "glass ceiling" that currently exits for the Associates. There are plenty of ways to do this. In the interim, IMO, Afghanistan & Ireland need some sort of "Provisional" Test status. The intention would be for Ire & Afg to play PRIMARILY against Zimbabwe & Bangladesh. There are many benefits here, 1) Broaden the exposure of Test cricket, 2) Mend some bridges in Afghanistan, 3) Increase the exposure for Bangladesh & Zimbabwe who struggle to get enough matches to be competitive. Ireland, due to their proximity to County cricket (& hence England), could get a test against teams touring England from time to time as well, & Afghanistan could play an annual series v Pakistan. These two sides would have limited exposure to the top flight teams, so they can build their resources without having stat-warping thumping defeats like Bangladesh (&NZ) got in their early years.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Afghan national cricket team has more capability fight alongside each grave champion and full membership if we think in past T20 world cup 2010 mashllah our team dons well against India And we pray for them to fight England as well as a India

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

The way India unfolded in both batting and bowling dept throws lot of questions to be answered before we reach Super six stage..Does India have a chance to win atleast one match in Super six which they haven`t done in last two T20 WC`s..Bowling looks really weak which will make any target undefendable against SA,AUS etc which was already evident in the warm-up..Opening combination needs to be looked into as well..

Posted by Mollakhel on (September 20, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

i would like to say that afghanistan played an exaiting match we know that indians were always at the top but if we look to the history of both teams so you will find the diffrences i will thank both teams for a great match and will pray for more success of afghanistan team good luck afghans

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (September 20, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

I believe Afghanistan had more pressure than India. Because if the lower ranked teams don't play well, they will lose their opportunity to participate in. There is something to lose Mr. Virat. You have nothing to lose, because you are already in.

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