Asghar Stanikzai, apart from being the most interesting name in world cricket, is the captain who is watching Afghanistan take giant leaps in international cricket.
Afghanistan's success can be gauged from the fact that it is a country that was playing in division 8 of ICC World Cricket League in 2007, and in 2018 they already have Test status, have qualified for the 2019 ICC World Cup and are currently the eighth-ranked T20I side.
Stanikzai knows the task in front of his team, as Afghanistan will be hosting three T20 internationals against Bangladesh in Dehradun ahead of playing India in their historic maiden Test match against India from 14th June.
He was recently quoted saying, “We would like to give our best in the T20s against Bangladesh. Hopefully, we can win and gain confidence ahead of the first Test match against India. It is going to be huge for Afghanistan,”
They should be confident of doing well in T20s, as Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi are popular names across T20 leagues around the world. Youngster Mujeeb Zadran played in the Indian Premier League season 11 recently. The likes of Mohammed Shahzad and Asghar are proven names in the shortest format.
Stanikzai further added, “Rashid Khan did exceptionally well in IPL. His form and experience will lift other teammates against Bangladesh. Rashid is in great form. We have a lot of cricket ahead like the Bengaluru Test, Asia Cup, World Cup in 2019, hopefully, he can mentor others in the team. His experience in the IPL will lift the team. Nabi is also an experienced campaigner"
“Mujeeb was a discovery this IPL season. He is young and must have learnt so much from Kings XI Punjab coach and captain. The conditions in Dehradun will be more or less similar to the IPL match conditions,”
The T20I games against Bangladesh will be followed by their inaugural Test against India. Their coach Phil Simmons understands it too, “It has been difficult with the T20 and Test squads training at the same time. But it is getting a bit easier as we are coming up to the game. You usually have Test matches first and then limited over series or vice versa. We just have to work around that,”