Pressure on Bangladesh, says Afghan captain


Canberra: Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi is convinced the pressure will be on Bangladesh in their World Cup clash on Wednesday, saying his debutant side holds an edge over their Asian rivals.

Nabi reminded everyone ahead of the Pool A match at the Manuka Oval that Afghanistan had beaten Bangladesh on their own turf last year, winning the Asia Cup match by 32 runs to record their first win over a Test-playing nation.

“I am sure Bangladesh are under pressure for tomorrow’s match because they know we beat them the last time we played them and that too in their own country,” the off-spinner said.

“Hopefully we will beat them again. The conditions in Australia suit us because we have quality fast bowlers and the good pitches enable our batsmen to play freely.”

Nabi, 29, said his boys were excited at taking part in the World Cup for the first time, although many of them have played in three World Twenty20 competitions.

“This is the big one for us, so everyone is thrilled and excited about the first match,” he said. “Hopefully we will enjoy every game.

“The players need to control their nerves and not put too much pressure on themselves so that they can perform to their potential.

“We have made plans and if we execute them well, we can beat any side the world.”

Englishman Andy Moles, the former Warwickshire opener who coaches Afghanistan, said he was as excited as the players to be at the tournament.

“It’s very exciting to be involved with any team in the World Cup, especially with Afghanistan on their debut,” he said.

“They’ve come a long way in the last 12 to 14 years. They’re very excited. It’s an honour. They feel a real genuine honour to be here, and they want to do well for the public at home.

“It (the World Cup) is a massive inspiration for the players. The players have worked really hard, and from my point of view now, all the work and preparation has been done.

“The next 24 hours we’ll just get ready for the game. Make sure we’re calm, calculated and execute the plans. And if we do that, Bangladesh can look forward to a very hard game tomorrow.

“If we do the right things at the right time, we can get the right result.”

Moles, who took over as coach last September from former Pakistani international Kabir Khan, said Bangladesh will prove to a formidable opponent.

“We respect them, but we are certainly not scared of them,” he said. “We know what our recipe for success is. The World Cup is a magnificent opportunity. It is also a great learning curve.

“If we can stay calm and the guys enjoy the occasion, we’ll play some good cricket.” AFP