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India vs Afghanistan | Young Turk Shahidi Seeks Sangakkara Tips Before India Game

Hashmatullah Shahidi has been one of the bright lights in a rather disappointing ICC World Cup campaign for Afghanistan so far. For a team which has lost five out of five games, Shahidi has shown courage as well as technique to be top-scorer for the side with 165 runs with two half-centuries so far.

Cricketnext Staff |June 20, 2019, 5:38 PM IST
(AP)

Hashmatullah Shahidi has been one of the bright lights in a rather disappointing ICC World Cup campaign for Afghanistan so far. For a team which has lost five out of five games, Shahidi has shown courage as well as technique to be top-scorer for the side with 165 runs with two half-centuries so far.

Afghanistan and Shahidi’s next opponents with the neighbours India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Saturday (June 22). He scored a brave 76 against England in their last game, batting on bravely against ICC doctor’s medical advice after being hit on the head by a Mark Wood bouncer.

With one of their toughest challenges coming up, Shahidi sought help from fellow southpaw and Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara for some tips. The youngman tweeted a picture of himself with Sangakkara at the Old Trafford after the game against England, with the former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper spending much-needed time with Shahidi.

“Don't remember if I ever listened like this to anyone, when legend speak you don't want to miss even a word I would say I cant explain how I felt when I was receiving some invaluable tips from legendary @KumarSanga2, forever my favourite. Nothing but love and respect for you sir,” Shahidi tweeted.

Sangakkara knows a thing or two about batting against India. The Sri Lankan southpaw scored 2700 ODI runs against the Indians in 76 games at an average of 39.70 with six hundreds and 18 fifties in his career.

His overall ODI record is even more impressive with 14,234 runs in 404 ODIs at an average of 41.98 with 25 hundreds and 93 fifities — which included four hundreds in successive games at the 2015 World Cup.

“Keep believing and improving. You have great ability and talent. Work hard,” Sangakkara twetted replying to Shahidi.

The left-handed Afghan still has a long way to go in his career. After making his ODI debut in 2013 against Kenya as an 18-year-old, Shahidi has 1,030 ODI runs till date in 36 games with nine fifties and a top-score of 97 not out.

Apart from 76 against England, he also scored a battling 59 against New Zealand in seaming conditions at Taunton. He also notched up a fine 74 not out against Pakistan in a warm-up game in Bristol before the World Cup to set up a famous upset win over Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side.

Wood’s bouncer had broken Shahidi’s helmet but he refused to leave the field and batted on with a new helmet.

“I got up early because of my mum," Shahidi said in the ICC mixed zone after the game. "I lost my father last year. So, I didn't want her to hurt. My whole family was watching, even my big brother was here in the ground watching the match. I didn't want them to be worried for me," he added.

Shahidi and Afghanistan will need all of that spirit and more if they hope to push India come Saturday.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 India 8411 263
4 Australia 5471 261
5 South Africa 4407 259
see more