Trott: Day games suit Afghanistan better

With no chance of dew, their spinners and their swing bowlers can really shine

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
The punchline when day-night cricket first started was "big boys play in the night". Nearly five decades later, at a T20 World Cup, the big boys from India are playing all their games in the morning. Afghanistan come into this crucial Super Eight match having played all their four league matches in the night. That, though, is not a disadvantage. In fact, their coach Jonathan Trott said they prefer playing in the morning. They quite fancy themselves as the big boys.
"I think day games actually suit us better," Trott said. "So, quite excited to play India in a day game. Obviously, they're a very, very good side in the day. Obviously one of the favourites and with being favourites obviously it has added pressure for India, and hopefully we can come in obviously perceived as underdogs but in my mind very much not underdogs and fully prepared and ready for the battle that confronts us tomorrow, which I'm very excited about."
Part of the reason Afghanistan fancy themselves during the day is their bowling attack. Their spinners are world-class, and in Fazalhaq Farooqi, they have a swing bowler in the mould of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. These are exactly the kind of bowlers that can do without any threat of dew.
"I think when you've got the spinners with the experience of T20 cricket, like we have, I think you would obviously say that's one of our strengths, but yet one of our seamers is a leading wicket-taker in the tournament," Trott said. "We've seen, certainly over the last couple of years, a more rounded side with regards to the ball and on conditions. So, if it swings and seams, we can take wickets; if it spins, hopefully, we can take wickets as well."
However, Trott did say the spinners can't relax just because there won't be dew. "If it's going to spin, it'll probably help us," Trott said. "If it doesn't spin, we've got to bowl well as spinners. Spinners can't just rely on spin to be able to take wickets and pressure. So that goes for both sides, I'm sure. And India have got some good spinners themselves. So, it's going to be a good contest."
Afghanistan might be surprise entrants into the Super Eight, having come through ahead of New Zealand, but they command respect from their opponents. "If you just look at their squad," India's coach Rahul Dravid said, "they might not have a lot of international experience as in the other formats of the game, but a lot of their players do play in a lot of T20 leagues, more than in fact some of our players do. They are sort of well-travelled cricketers, especially in the T20 circuit, T20 league, a lot of them. They are very prominent members of their IPL teams, other teams as well. So, certainly in this format they are not a team to be taken lightly. They are deservedly in the Super Eight, and we will not treat them any differently than any other team that we expect to play in the Super Eight."

Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo