Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai said on Saturday that batting coach Inzamam-ul-Haq and bowling coach Manoj Prabhakar are helping improve the level of cricket in the country.

Afghanistan, who lost to Sri Lanka in their first match by six wickets, face a must-win game against South Africa in Group 1 of the World Twenty20 cricket tournament here on Sunday.

Also, posting 153/7 against defending champions Sri Lanka in their first match is quite an achievement for them. Skipper Stanikzai, who scored an impressive 63 in their last match, will be the key man for the Afghans when it comes to batting.

“The first round if you see was also very tough Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Scotland and we have qualified for the second round of the world cup, currently, our team is doing very good and we have repeatedly improved our cricket especially to international and elite level,” Stanikzai said at the pre-match press conference here.

The team, who remained unbeaten in the qualifiers leading up to this tournament, must be brimming with confidence as they have made it to every World T20 after 2010.

“After Inzamam (Inzamam-Ul-Haq from Pakistan) and Manoj Prabhakar the bowling coach from India joined, we have improved more because they have shared their (experience), they have more international experience and they have played at such a pressure and elite level so they are sharing their experience and guys are improving day by day.

“As long as we play as full members, we are getting more experience and we can identify all those weak areas where we need to compete more on the elite level,” the skipper said.

The 29-year-old said the Afghans will aim to give tough competition to South Africa.

“Every batsman when he is playing well, so he gets more confident for the next game, so definitely I got confident (after the knock against Sri Lanka), and most of our guys are playing and are currently in form, so they are confident and if we play with South Africa or with every country we will play our own cricket,” Stanikzai said.

“So we are trying to give a tough time to every team and not only play with them but we are trying to beat one of two in this upcoming tournament, even it is South Africa or any team. Sri Lanka, we played to our strength what we have,” he added.

Stanikzai stressed that spin has been Afghanistan’s strength right from the opening round of the competition.

“We have very good spin attack, Rashid (Khan), Nabi (Mohammad), he is a good off breaker, Hamza (Hotak), the left arm spinners, throughout the tournament they have bowled very well so our strength is spin bowling as well, we saw Mumbai wicket is always famous for big score and big target, definitely is one team is setting up good total another team is always trying to complete is because the boundary is short, it will be a good game, we hope we ball well , our spin is our strength,” Stanikzai added.

The Afghanistan skipper hoped that the International Cricket Council (ICC) starts to arrange more series for them, which will help them improve as a team.

“There are many associates who you might have seen playing better than some of the full members, so we need focus of ICC in this case and ICC can arrange the series and they can play key role with full members especially for the matches …as long as we play with the full members the distance which associated and full members have that will reduce,” Stanikzai added.


    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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