Manchester: Afghanistan cricketers are known to be tough, and Hashmatullah Shahidi showed just why when he bounced back after being hit flush on his helmet by a vicious Mark Wood bouncer to score a half-century, although his side was nowhere close to beating England.
Hashmatullah took the blow on the back of his helmet when on 24, he couldn't avoid the quick bouncer. The physios from both sides advised him to walk off, but Hashmatullah didn't. He battled on, ending with 76 as Afghanistan made a much improved 247 for 8 in 50 overs chasing 398.
The reason for disobeying the medical advice? Hashmatullah didn't want his mother, watching on television, to be worried.
"Even my helmet was broken. The doctors and physio came to me and said let’s go (off the field). I said, ‘I can’t go, you know, my team needed me’. One of the reasons I [got] up quickly was because my mom is always thinking of me. I lost my father last year, and I didn’t want her to hurt. I carried on, and I got up early because she shouldn't be worried.
"My whole family would be watching. Even my big brother is here – in the ground – and he was watching."
The English players including Wood seemed concerned too, and checked on Hashmatullah. However, there was no mercy as Wood fired in a short one next ball too, which Hashmatullah managed to tuck away for a single. Wood later revealed he bowled the follow-up short ball on the instructions of captain Eoin Morgan.
Wood continued the short-ball barrage next over too. This time, Hashmatullah was prepared. He whipped the first ball through fine-leg for four and three balls later, flat-batted Wood down the ground for six.
"They have one of the best bowling attacks, and they were consistently bowling quick at me. I said, ‘Ok, I’m not going to get out’. Then he kept a short-leg. He kept giving bouncers, and I said, ‘okay, I’ll never give up’. And I hit a six," said Hashmatullah.
Hashmatullah said facing England's bowlers was a great experience which will only improve his batting.
"It was a good innings for me. The England bowling attack is one of the good ones in this World Cup. Archer and Mark Wood, they were too quick for me! It was a tough time for me, and I faced tough bowlers. It was a good experience.
"The batting will improve. Wood and Archer were consistently bowling around 145-150kph. That’s a great experience for the future. In such conditions, such bouncy pitches, playing such good bowlers is a great experience. I can say that this was one of the best attacks I’ve faced in this World Cup. In fact, all the teams here, they give batsmen a very tough time."