By: Monitoring Desk
KABUL: Afghanistan’s all-format skipper Asghar Afghan believes the three-match T20I series against Zimbabwe is coming at a good time for his side, as they look to build-up towards Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup, to be played later this year. The T20I series kicks off on March 17 at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, with the next two games at the same venue on March 19 and 20.
Afghanistan’s previous T20I series – a 2-1 win over Ireland – came last March, just before the coronavirus pandemic brought the sport to a halt. They made their return in the ODI series this January, where they completed a series sweep against Ireland.
“The T20I series comes at a good time for us as we prepare for the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. It will give us a good idea,” Afghan said ahead of the series against Zimbabwe.
“We have good experience already in T20 format but the more we play, the better we adapt ourselves,” he said.
While it took a long while for Afghanistan to return to the field, some of their players were back in the mix through various T20 leagues – like CPL and IPL – that returned sooner. Afghan reckoned it kept his players ‘in touch’ with cricket as players spent a long time on the sidelines because of the pandemic. “Of course the leagues (franchise-based) have a good effect on our players and the best thing was that these leagues kept them in touch with cricket. Credit goes to these leagues as it helped keeping the love for cricket alive during the pandemic,” he said.
Afghanistan will go into the T20I leg of the series with some confidence after having fought hard to square the two-Test series. Afghan admitted the lack of red-ball experience within his squad and vowed to be better prepared when the next assignment comes along.
“We learned a lot from this match. Next time, we will try to conduct Preparation camps and four-day matches to build our temperament as we are not very experienced currently in red-ball cricket. We will need to work harder and work more on our skills as the Test match skills are very different from white-ball cricket,” Afghan said.
“Of course, it is hard to make a strong comeback after that kind of a defeat in the first Match. But, we had a plan for it – to work on our batting. We held a two-day scenario match followed by practice sessions. In the second match, we strived to play our natural game and positive cricket since we had played comparatively poorer cricket in the first match. But, in the second match we played more positively and focused on our strengths and punished the bad balls,” he added.