Three Reasons Why Afghanistan’s World Cup Campaign is a Forgettable One

Gulbadin Photo

From not having a cricket pitch to play on to playing their second World Cup, Afghanistan cricket has come a long way. In such a short span of time, Afghanistan beating teams like Zimbabwe and West Indies to qualify as the 10th best ODI team in the World Cup is indeed remarkable.

Considering the fact, Afghanistan’s national cricket team was formed in 2001, becoming a Test playing nation earlier in such a small is no small feat.

Beating teams like West Indies, Zimbabwe in the qualifiers and then Pakistan in the Warm Up games, Afghanistan have certainly risen through the ranks in the last one decade.

A team boasting of world-class spinners, Afghanistan came in as a potential dark horse in the World Cup. Gulbadin and Co. started their campaign on a high, beating Pakistan in one of the warm-up matches in the World Cup.

However, the warm-up win against Pakistan happened to be the only success they had in the World Cup. Afghanistan World Cup campaign has been a forgettable one having lost all their games in the perennial tournament.

Here’s look at three reasons why Afghanistan’s World Cup campaign is a forgettable one:

1. Change in Captains didn’t Help the Cause

Perhaps, it is not just the performances, Afghanistan’s downfall started months before the start of the World Cup. Changing a captain a couple of months before the World Cup drew a lot of flacks from around the world, resulting in dampening the spirits of the players in the team.

Gulbadin Photo

Afghanistan Cricket Board opted for a new captain in Gulabdin and Co. which perhaps didn’t go well with the senior members of the team. Rashid Khan also posted a tweet, expressing his displeasure over the decision.

“We were going to play a big event like the World Cup. The combination didn’t seem like Asia Cup and if you tinker with the combination before a big tournament, it’s not a great thing. That was the reason for the tweet,”

“Neither do I play for Gulbadin nor for the cricket board. I play for the flag, for Afghanistan. I know what my job is and I will continue doing that. “That tweet by me or Nabi wasn’t in support of Asghar. We raised our voice for the betterment of Afghanistan cricket,” the 20-year-old spinner said.

Gulbadin didn’t impress with his captaincy, taking a number of wrong decisions in the matches. Perhaps, the Afghanistan selection committee wouldn’t want to look back over their decision to go for a new captain in cricket’s biggest tournament.

2. Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan Photo

One of the best wrist spinners in the World, Rashid Khan endured a lean spell in the tournament. Afghanistan’s best spinner, Rashid Khan had an immense responsibility on his shoulders in a bid to give tough fights to the oppositions. However, the 20-year-old spinner failed to set the stadium alight with his variations. In nine matches he has been part of, Rashid Khan could only scalp six wickets and leaked as many as 416 runs in 431 wickets. Rashid Khan not taking wickets in the tournament was perhaps a big setback for Afghanistan in the tournament.

3. Lack of Pace in Afghanistan’s Bowling Department

Be it Mohammad Shami or Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer or Mitchell Starc, undoubtedly, it has been a fast bowler’s World Cup. Given the matches have been played mostly on flat tracks, pace and accuracy were essential for teams to create an impact.

Afghanistan team

Afghanistan though boast of a few of the best spinners in the World, but the nation still struggles to produce fast bowlers bowling at over 140 clicks, combined with nasty bouncers which were needed in English fast-tracks.

Despite losing all their matches in the World Cup, Afghanistan did give a tough fight to teams like India, Pakistan, and West Indies. Gulabadin and Co. would want to learn from the mistakes and come out harder next time.

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