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ICC World Cup 2019 | 'Prepared' Afghanistan Excited About World Cup

AFP |May 1, 2019, 3:09 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | 'Prepared' Afghanistan Excited About World Cup

Afghanistan's cricket team are upbeat about their chances at next month's World Cup, skipper Gulbadin Naib said Monday, after the squad spent several weeks training in South Africa.

Naib said conditions in South Africa, with bouncy wickets and good pitches, were similar to what they expect in Britain.

"When I look at my team, we prepared very well the last couple of months," Naib told AFP at the British embassy in Kabul, ahead of the team's departure for the Cup.

"The guys have a big morale, everyone is very excited to be participating in the World Cup."

Naib earlier this month was named as captain, replacing Asghar Afghan who has still been included in the squad.

The move sparked some controversy coming so close to the World Cup, but the 28-year-old Naib dismissed the row as overblown, saying it was "no big deal" and that the team had several other players with captaincy experience.

British deputy ambassador Giles Lever said the World Cup provided Afghanistan with an opportunity to show an expected global audience of up to 1.5 billion a side of the war-torn country that is often overlooked.

"Not war, not political divisions but Afghans working together on the world stage to achieve your common dream, which is victory in the World Cup," Lever said.

Since beating the odds to compete at the 2010 World Twenty20 in England, Afghanistan have qualified for all major international tournaments and recorded their first Test victory against Ireland last month.

Afghanistan open their World Cup campaign against Australia in Bristol on June 1 and are regarded as dark horses, having beaten former champions Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup last year as well as forcing a tie with giants India.

Many Afghan cricketers learned the game in refugee camps in Pakistan, their families having fled the Soviet invasion in the 1980s.

Asked if he thought his team could go all the way, Naib said: "I hope so. It's cricket ... anything can happen."

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
NZ
6 5 0 1 11 +1.30
2
AUS
6 5 1 0 10 +0.84
3
IND
5 4 0 1 9 +0.80
4
ENG
6 4 2 0 8 +1.45
5
SL
6 2 2 2 6 -1.11
6
BAN
6 2 3 1 5 -0.40
7
PAK
6 2 3 1 5 -1.26
8
WI
6 1 4 1 3 +0.19
9
SA
7 1 5 1 3 -0.32
10
AFG
6 0 6 0 0 -1.71

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more