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ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan Can Upset Top Teams: Rajput

On a day Afghanistan named a 15-member side for the upcoming World Cup, their former coach Lalchand Rajput feels that they can "upset some of the top teams" in the mega tournament, primarily banking on their spinners.

PTI |April 22, 2019, 9:20 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan Can Upset Top Teams: Rajput

Mumbai: On a day Afghanistan named a 15-member side for the upcoming World Cup, their former coach Lalchand Rajput feels that they can "upset some of the top teams" in the mega tournament, primarily banking on their spinners.

"Afghanistan have got one of the best bowling attacks, especially (their) spinners. In England if there is a good day, where the ball grips and spins, I think they will change some of the games and they will upset some of the top teams as well," Rajput, who is currently the Zimbabwe coach, told reporters here Monday (April 22).

Pacer Hamid Hassan and former captain Asghar Afghan were named in Afghanistan's 15-strong World Cup squad headlined by IPL stars Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.

Gulbadin Naib will lead the team which also features Mohammad Shahzad and spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman. Afghan was removed as captain in all formats earlier this year.

"Their batting is little bit on a slower side (and) playing in England, especially for batsman when it is a helpful wicket, it will very difficult (and) you have (to) adjust to it (the wicket)," noted Rajput, who was also a former India team manager.

"But on a bowling front, they would upset some of the bigger teams on a day where the ball grips. The main game-changer in their team is Mohammad Shahzad and if he gets going in the first half an hour or 45 minutes and he can get quick runs and can really change (the game). Overall I think, they are the team to watch (out for)," Rajput said.

Rashid will be an important cog in Afghanistan's wheel and Rajput, who has seen the leg-spinner from close quarters, dubbed him as a "match-winner".

"Rashid Khan is a match-winner and with his experience with IPL, Big Bash, Caribbean League and he knows how to win matches. A lot of people have started hitting him, but as I said in England, if it is a helpful wicket where the ball grips, it will be difficult to hit him.

"He (Rashid) will be a game-changer and with (Mohammed) Nabi -- with his bowling and batting and Mujeeb (ur Rahman) they have got three best spinners in their team. I feel these three spinners can turn tables on some of the top teams," Rajput, who is credited for the rise in Afghanistan's cricket, added.

Asked to name top four teams, Rajput said, "India, England, Australia and the fourth team will be chosen among Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand."

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 9349 260
see more