T20 Afghanistan's strong suit - Nabi
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi is looking forward to the World Twenty20 and believes the shortest format plays into his team's strengths. Also, several players in the squad already have some experience of the conditions, having played in the Bangladesh domestic circuit, and that's a plus, Nabi said.
"We prefer T20 cricket to ODIs. Anything can happen in T20 matches," Nabi said. "We are not targeting anything. We will just play positive cricket. We will play our natural game."
Players like Nabi, big-hitting wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, batsman Asghar Stanikzai and legspinning allrounder Samiullah Shenwari, who are likely to be key to Afghanistan's chances in the tournament's opening round, play in Bangladesh's domestic 50-overs club tournament, the Dhaka Premier Division (DPL). Among the players in the squad, batsmen Najibullah Zadran and Gulbadin Naib, also feature in the one-day competition, while pacer Hamid Hassan plays in the domestic T20s, the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
"Six-seven players have already played in DPL and BPL, so we are learning," Nabi said. "Our team is good in T20 bowling, batting and fielding. We will try hard to go to the second round."
Afghanistan are grouped with Bangladesh, Nepal and Hong Kong in the first round of the tournament, and will have to top the group in order to progress and have a chance to take on the higher-ranked Test playing nations.
Nabi said the team has, of course, not forgotten its recent Asia Cup success against Bangladesh, but will not get carried away by it. The two face-off in the tournament's opener on March 16. "We will try hard to beat Bangladesh. It is good experience to play against Test nations. We got a good win against Bangladesh, that was good preparation for the World T20. We [had a chance to get] used to pitches and ground. [But] our first match against Bangladesh, it is still a tough match."