I think it has been solid. We understand that, with due respect, it's Namibia and Scotland that we managed to beat. Yes, we had a very good game against Pakistan, and we were just a bit unlucky in the end. It's important to have got the points and the run rate that we do have now, but really the competition for us is still to start, with India and New Zealand, which are two world-class teams.
Yes, absolutely. Going back to Asghar [Afghan], that's the leadership with which he has been able to move the team along. The reality is that we're still growing and still have a long way to go. However, the fairy tale of Afghanistan cricket for me has been what they've been able to achieve with relatively few resources - that has been outstanding. And as I said, achieving that and still being humble people, the future is bright.
Just their passion for the game, their willingness to learn and their willingness to become better. That's just amazing - how hard they work. So I'm not really surprised that they are achieving what they have done in a short time. Just extremely proud.
I've coached around the world, but what stands out for me is just how humble these guys are, how respectful they are, and how aware they are of their roots and their responsibility to their supporters. That's extremely important, to keep your feet on the ground, which they do.
I'm hands-on where I need to be. At this level, it's about creating an environment that will allow all the players to grow. You've got your senior players - Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, for example - who just really need an environment to continue to grow, offering them [help] where and when they need it.
Experience and credibility. Andy was the coach of England when they won this competition [in 2010] and it has been good for me to have other senior coaches to bounce ideas off. But it's also nice for the players - they get a different perspective on batting or bowling. I'm quite big on getting outside help. Sometimes, it just [about] hearing the same message from a different voice that can make a world of difference.
It does help. Last year's T10 was particularly bad with dew, and I think as the competition [T20 World Cup] goes on a bit, the dew will get worse. We haven't experienced any problems so far, so that's been quite good for us. We've probably played more day games here as well, when we were playing Scotland and Zimbabwe at the beginning of the year. We experienced that a little bit where we found the pitch was a little bit sticky batting first in a day game and kind of gets better as the day goes on. I thought the way we negotiated that tricky little powerplay against Namibia was key for us to get over the line.
Yeah it [batting first] has worked for us, also in the past. It's not that we've got problems doing it the other way around. We haven't seen the need to do differently because of the conditions, so we've just stuck to that. We've been lucky to win the toss, so that has given us that opportunity to decide for ourselves. However, we've spent some time chatting on the fact that if we do decide to chase, or do need to chase, then be comfortable with that as well.
It's something that we're working on. We want to improve on that and we've identified that as a big growth point for us: we need to run better and work on rotating the strike better. But at the same time, we need to work on our strength, which is boundary-hitting. I think we were particularly good in the last couple of games - the way we rotated the strike has been a lot better compared to in the past. If we can as a team get better with that and squeeze out an extra five, six runs every innings, that's an extra win somewhere down the line.
That [six-hitting] is a speciality of mine, so it's something that we've been able to work well on. It's also fun to practise boundary-hitting. I don't have to force the boys to do that. Again, not forgetting that a lot of our cricketers come from street cricket, tennis-ball cricket, tape-ball cricket, where that's all you do. There's no real running, so a lot of our cricketers learnt their cricket that way.
From an Afghanistan point of view, every game's an away game. We don't have the privilege of playing home games. Maybe one day we will have that opportunity to play at home. But until then even it's a home series, it's on a foreign wicket and stadium.
[Players] have had access to good coaching with playing around the world, so that has taken a little bit of pressure off myself and them to a degree. It was just making sure that I was available all the time for those who were back home that possibly needed a bit of help. The boys were sending videos of what they were doing, asking for drills or whatever it was.
He's a great human being and that's a start. He's been part of the team for a long time, part of senior players' groups, so for him to step in has been pretty flawless. He's played around the world, is extremely experienced, and has the support of everybody. We talk about being good human beings as well because of our responsibility towards the people back home, our supporters. Nabi is someone who epitomises that.
Yeah, tough day for him. It's always a tough day knowing the reality that it's not going to happen again. I was just extremely happy that the boys put in a good performance for him. But I think the legacy of Asghar is not necessarily his stats, it's in ushering the team through to where they are today and making sure that in the last 20 years they have achieved so much in such a short time. He's played a major, major role in that. That really for me is the mark that he's going to leave here - getting the boys to where they are here today and leading them along with a few other senior players. Hopefully, we're not losing him to cricket, certainly from an Afghanistan point of view.
Yeah, he was our bowling coach while he was still injured. I'm just extremely happy for him. He's come a long way with his injuries and he's shortened his run-up, but still has excellent control. I had a long chat with him not so long ago - he's just challenging himself to force himself back. It was pleasing to see the way he took his opportunity. That will do loads for his confidence. He's come a long way and worked extremely hard. We just saw him bowl against Namibia, but I've seen him train for hours and days to be able to put himself into that position.
I always like to have a team that has that youth and experience. My gauge for that with youngsters is that they're starting to be snapped up by T20 leagues around the world. We've got guys doing that, and let's not forget guys like Qais Ahmad and Noor Ahmad are not in our team at the moment. They've been playing in the Big Bash and the T10. That says we're producing quality.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo