Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has said that his team has achieved a lot in the last ten years. He added that he was sure of Afghanistan winning the T20 World Cup in near future.
The 2021 men’s T20 World Cup marks Afghanistan’s fifth appearance in the event since their first major appearance at an ICC event in the 2010 edition.
“We have achieved a lot over the last 10 years as a team. Where we came from, where we had no facilities, we came from that stage and we’ve played lots of World Cups. It’s a dream of every country to be called a Test team and we’ve got that as well, we’ve played Test games. We have achieved a lot,” Khan said to ICC on Wednesday.
Khan was assertive about Afghanistan becoming T20 World Cup champions in the near future. In 2016 T20 World Cup, Khan was the second leading wicket-taker, with eleven wickets at an average of 16.33 as Afghanistan qualified for the Super 10 stage. Afghanistan was the only team to beat eventual winners West Indies in their final Group 1 match, winning by six runs in Nagpur.
Now in 2021, ahead of the men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, Afghanistan are in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage alongside India, Pakistan, New Zealand and two yet-to-be-known qualifying teams.
“We have that target in the future that one day we have the ability to win the World Cup, especially the T20 World Cup. That’s the focus of everyone back home. That’s the dream of everyone, that’s the target of every player and we are capable of achieving that target. We have that belief in our skills and ourselves, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to achieve that target in the future.”
Khan also expressed surprise over being named as the ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Decade at the start of the year. “Unbelievable. I never had that in the mind to be called ICC T20I Player of the Decade. To be called the Player of the Decade was more than special for me. It was a dream.”
The 23-year-old spoke about his vision for Afghanistan cricket in future. “To take Afghanistan cricket to the next level. As soon as we achieve that level, especially for the youngsters back home, it gives them lots of hopes, lots of future plans and gives them the kind of energy to come up and do the same for the cricket of Afghanistan. That will be the target to win the World Cup for the country.”
Khan named uncapped spinner Noor Ahmed as one to watch out for in the future. Ahmed took seven wickets in the 2020 Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa. “He is someone who can deliver well in the future for Afghanistan.”
Khan concluded by saying that his current team-mates Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai are ones to keep an eye on for the future. “These two are really destructive batsmen. If they look after themselves well, then they have that kind of self-belief that they can play at any stage and they can play some massive, massive innings.”
Afghanistan begin their men’s T20 World Cup campaign on October 26 in Sharjah against the first-ranked team from Group B in Round 1.