Mujeeb Ur Rahman Age, Biography, career, stats, Ranking & News

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Afghanistan Cricket Board- Facebook/AfghanistanCricketBoardOfficial
Afghanistan Cricket Board- Facebook/AfghanistanCricketBoardOfficial
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Afghanistan Cricket Board May Allow Its National Players To Take Part In Only 3 Franchise Based T20 Global Leagues

Afghanistan Cricket Board may allow their national cricketers to take part in only three franchise-based T20 leagues in order to ensure their availability in domestic tournaments.

ACB recently formed a 14-member technical committee to observe and review the present cricketing structure currently in place. Following their assessment, they’ve come up with a new plan of action to raise its standards.

Afghanistan (Courtesy of ICC)
Afghanistan (Courtesy of ICC)

Afghanistan Cricket Board Will Reduce Players Participation And Allow Its Players To Take Part In 3 Franchise Based T20 Global Leagues

The technical committees had already discussed a couple of times on different aspects to take the game forward in the war-torn country considering they will have to report back to the top ACB management with specific plans on what needs to be done so that the board can govern the game better.

Afghanistan cricketers are a hot commodity in the world of franchise-based T20 cricket. They feature regularly in almost every big T20 tournament around the globe at the expense of skipping their domestic tournaments, considering their presence is extremely low in competitions played in their own backyard.

“Our (Technical committee) plan is to discuss with ACB high-ups regarding the participation of our leading national cricketers in the domestic tournament,” Raees Ahmadzai, part of the newly-formed technical committee said.

“Maybe the Afghanistan Cricket Board will reduce their (players’) participation in different franchise leagues and ask the players to take part in only three franchise-based T20 leagues in a year and they can choose their options as it is their choice,” he said.

Afghanistan cricket team. Credits: Twitter
Afghanistan cricket team. Credits: Twitter

“There are the recommendations from the selection committee – that in different Test nations, first-class cricket is a priority and we have to follow the same path as players will need to play first-class cricket to get selected in Test squad,” he said.

“You know T20 team selection is easy as most of our players are playing in different T20 leagues around the world. But when your top cricketers are not participating in domestic cricket, then the new generation will not become good cricketers. So let’s see but I am sure more than 90% of national players will take part in domestic cricket from next year,” he said.

ACB’s 14-member technical committee includes – Abdulwali Amin, Ahmad Shah Suliman Khil, Allah Dad Noori, Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai, Ihsan Obaid, Menhaj Raz, Mohammad Khan, Nazeem Jar, Mohammad Salam Afghan, Nawroz Mangal, Noor Malikzai, Raees Khan Ahmadzai, Shahid Alokozai, and Taj Malik Alam.

Afghanistan players participate in the leagues such as the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League, The Hundred, Bangladesh Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League in Australia. Their participation in these leagues means they miss the domestic tournaments.

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Raees Khan Added The Committee Will Bring Overseas Curators To Develop Local Ground Staff

Raees Khan, who is very vocal regarding promoting fast bowlers, added that the committee will recommend bringing overseas curators to develop their local ground staff so that they can produce wickets to encourage fast bowlers.

”For the next season you know we want to prepare a good fast bowling wicket, good seaming wicket, bouncy wicket. And the cricket committee discussed… you know we need a good curator to help the other local curators to make a new good wicket for the fast bowlers,” he said.

Afghanistan will play 37 ODIs, 12 T20Is & 3 Tests in 2022-23, according to the Future Tour Program of ICC, apart from taking part in various ICC & ACC events in the next two years. Afghanistan will kickstart their season in 2022 in January by hosting the Netherlands for a three-match ODI series which is part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League in Qatar.

Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Following the series against the Netherlands, Afghans will tour Zimbabwe in January-February to play three ODIs while they are scheduled to host Australia & Pakistan for three ODIs. They will then travel to India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka to play three series (away) at the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League till 2023. Afghanistan so far has played only one Super League series and they earned full 30 points by clean-sweeping the Irish earlier this year.

The likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are familiar faces in almost every major T20 league including the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League. The Taliban takeover of the country was followed by the resignation of Rashid Khan as the T20I captain and later the removal of CEO Hamid Shinwari. Adding to the raging fire, Cricket Australia decided to scrap their maiden Test against Australia later in the year.

Asghar Afghan has played six Tests, 114 ODIs, and 74 T20Is for Afghanistan. The right-handed batter made his debut against Scotland in 2009. Asghar Afghan played his first match in the longest format when Afghanistan locked horns with India in June 2018. He retired from international cricket during the 2021 T20I World Cup.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma
Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma
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Quality Bowler Ravichandran Ashwin Is A Wicket-Taking Option, Says Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma, an Indian vice-captain, says Ravichandran Ashwin’s presence in the playing XI is always an advantage as the seasoned off-spinner is on the lookout for wickets at all times.

Playing a T20I after a gap of four years, Ravichandran Ashwin picked up two wickets while giving away only 14 runs in a fine spell in India’s must-win match against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup on Wednesday. Like Rohit Sharma did with his 47-ball 74, Ravichandran Ashwin too contributed to India’s 66-run win.

Rohit Sharma in action against Afghanistan | AFP
Rohit Sharma in action against Afghanistan | AFP

Rohit Sharma: Ravichandran Ashwin Is A Wicket Taking Option

Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had impressive figures of 2 for 14 on his white-ball comeback, while senior pacer Mohammed Shami picked 3 wickets as well. Ravichandran Ashwin, who last played an international game in June in the World Test Championship, finally got a game after nearly four and half months. He was named in the playing XI after mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy developed a left calf issue.

“He’s a quality bowler, without a doubt. He’s played so much cricket and taken so many wickets, obviously playing for India in limited-overs. He also knows that it was a challenge for him because he was playing after three or four years,” Rohit Sharma said after the game.

“He’s someone who’s a wicket-taking option. Any time you give him the ball, he comes to take wickets. He’s not there to survive or just to bowl his six balls and getaway. He’s always looking to take wickets, and when you have someone like him in the squad and in the playing XI, it gives that advantage that you have someone in the middle who can take wickets,” he said.

Ravichandran Ashwin Photo Credit: (Twitter)
Ravichandran Ashwin Photo Credit: (Twitter)

During his spell against Afghanistan, Ravichandran Ashwin took the wickets of Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran and finished with 2/14 off 4 overs.

Rohit Sharma added, “That’s the quality of him. He understands his bowling really well and has bowled really well in IPL. He’s coming off good form as well, so I’m glad that he could contribute to our success today, and I hope he can do the same in the next few games.”

Back to winning ways after suffering two big losses against Pakistan and New Zealand, India is now looking to continue in the same vein in the remainder of the matches, even as their fate also hinges on the results of other games, especially the New Zealand-Afghanistan clash.

“It was necessary for our batters to score runs and I am happy that along with me, KL (Rahul) played a good inning and the opening partnership was crucial for our team. If the top 3-4 batsmen are in form, if they play more ball, it is necessary that they are in form, and I feel that our 4-5 batsmen are in good form and in the first two games, batsmen got out and they weren’t consistent, but today it was a good opportunity for us to score runs,” he said.

A long road awaits India, but he was still asked about a possible India-Pakistan final, and Rohit Sharma’s response was on expected lines.

“You are speaking about the final, for us, that road is far, the Afghanistan-New Zealand match, who wins or who losses, at present we cannot think so far ahead. We have to think about our next match and before that, there is the Afghanistan and New Zealand match, that is a very crucial match for us. We are not playing but still, it is a crucial match for us, after that is our game, so the road to the final is very far,” Rohit said.

After failing miserably in the first two matches, the Indian batting finally fired in the tournament, posting a 200-plus total. Against a side missing one of their two big spinners, Mujeeb ur Rahman, India’s openers – KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma – looked more at home, putting together India’s biggest opening stand at T20 World Cups. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant then provided India with a quickfire 63-run partnership in the last 3.3 overs.

Rohit Sharma Disagrees That IPL 2021 Is To Blame For Losses In The First Two Matches Against Pakistan And New Zealand

Having been on the road for long, the Indians looked jaded and out of sorts in the first two matches, and it was attributed to the preceding IPL, but Rohit Sharma disagreed.

“All these guys, if I look at the top six, seven batters, myself, KL , Virat , Pant, Surya, Hardik , and then  Jadeja, these guys have been playing for a long time, so they don’t need to be told what they need to do in the Indian team,” he said.

“What they do for their franchise is their lookout, but when they come here, they know their role. It’s not that they’re playing the first game or the second game for the team. They’ve been here for a long time now, so they understand their roles, what they need to do, what they do for their franchise is really not my concern.” he said.

The India opener added, “We’ve been batting consistently for a long period of time now, and nobody needs to tell what they need to do when they go to bat. These guys are all experienced, and when you have experience in the team, it’s just about going in and adapting to the situation as quickly as possible.”

India's Rohit Sharma, right, celebrates with batting partner KL Rahul after hitting a six (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)(AP)
India’s Rohit Sharma, right, celebrates with batting partner KL Rahul after hitting a six (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)(AP)

Rohit Sharma struck eight fours and three sixes during his innings and put on 140 runs with KL Rahul (69), laying the foundation for an imposing total.

“Firstly it was important for us to get off to a good start, if we talk about our batting, which didn’t happen in the first two games, so that’s where we struggled a little bit, to create that momentum in the first six overs.”

“So there was a conscious effort, we need to get the team a good start and how we can do that by playing our game, whatever that may be, however, we want to play, we took our chances in the middle, it came off, that’s the whole game,” he said.

“You take your chances, it comes off, if it doesn’t come off, you know you have to start again from the scratch, the batter who comes in has to start again from the scratch. We wanted to take some risks because it was important for us,” he said.

Having put such a high total, India’s bowling was too good for Afghanistan, keeping them to 144, moving into positives on the net-run rate. Sent in to bat, openers Rohit Sharma (74) and KL Rahul (69) put on a record 140-run partnership to power India to a massive 210 for 2. After the openers were dismissed, Hardik Pandya (35*) and Rishabh Pant (27*) took India past the 200-run mark.

India 210 for 2 (Rohit 74, Rahul 69) beat Afghanistan 144 for 7 (Janat 42*, Nabi 35, Shami 3-32, Ashwin 2-14) by 66 runs

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan has been so busy because of his prowess in short-form cricket that he is rarely at home. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/ICC/Getty Images
Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan has been so busy because of his prowess in short-form cricket that he is rarely at home. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/ICC/Getty Images
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I Don’t Think That There Is A Kind Of Pressure On Us Expectation-wise: Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan spinner asserted despite recent defeat against India they are still filled with confidence. Afghanistan suffered a 66-run defeat against India in the Super 12 stage of the ICC T20 World Cup.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had played knocks of 74 and 69, respectively, as India posted a total of 210/2 in the allotted twenty overs. Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin combined to take five wickets.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Rashid Khan Credits India For Taking Target To 210, Which Was 20-30 Runs Extra

After two similar defeats in this T20 World Cup, India has registered the highest score of this tournament, 210 against Afghanistan, and a big win as a result. India will now hope Afghanistan upset New Zealand, following which they can hope to correct their own net run-rate in the last match of the Super 12s, against Namibia.

“Looking to the wicket it’s a wicket where you can chase 170, 180, but that extra 30 runs, it’s always like a good — like in India they have a big batting lineup so they try to use the last three, four overs, which they took the total to 210,” said Rashid Khan during the post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I think that was the kind of mindset of the players, that already the Indian team, they struggled in the first two games in the batting department, so we as a team just tried to attack in that department which they struggled, and if we have the success we can be on a winning side. They played good cricket, and they just took the target to 210, which was on this wicket a bit much, like 20, 25 runs. But yeah, credit goes to them,” Rashid Khan added.

When asked whether expectations are taking a toll on Afghanistan, Rashid Khan said: “I don’t think that there is a kind of pressure on us expectation-wise. We know our skills. It’s all about playing against those big teams, it takes time.”

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

“We have to play with them more in a year in order to get used to them, understand them, their weakness, strong point. Then you work on your areas where you can come back stronger. 

“I think as a team we hardly get the opportunity to play with them, against India and other good sides. We don’t get that opportunity. We only play with them in the World Cup. As a team you have that kind of big team pressure.

“We know playing all around the world in the leagues with them and we’re used to with them, but still, the rest of the players, they need that kind of belief in themselves that we can deliver against a big side, as well. But it’s just kind of that belief. Once it comes, I think we can beat any side in a day, but that will come when we play more cricket with those teams,” Rashid Khan maintained.

Against a side missing one of their two big spinners, Mujeeb ur Rahman, India’s openers – KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma – looked more at home, putting together India’s biggest opening stand at T20 World Cups. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant then provided India with the finishing kick with a 63-run partnership in the last 3.3 overs.

Having put such a high total, India’s bowling was too good for Afghanistan, keeping them to 144, moving into positives on the net-run rate. Sent in to bat, openers Rohit Sharma (74) and KL Rahul (69) put on a record 140-run partnership to power India to a massive 210 for 2. After the openers were dismissed, Hardik Pandya (35*) and Rishabh Pant (27*) took India past the 200-run mark.

Rashid Khan: Preparation And Mindset Remains The Same Despite Defeat To India

The spinner also said that the defeat against India would not make a big difference as his side will be raring to go for the match against New Zealand.

“I don’t think so it’s going to make a big difference to us as a team. We know India is one of the best teams, but still, the preparation remains the same, the mindset remains the same and we know the process.

“As long as we keep the process simple, we know which process we come up with against any side, so we will just try our best as a team to keep the same process, come against New Zealand in the next game and play with a fresh mind. That could be quarterfinal for us, as well,” he further said.

Afghanistan: Courtesy of ICC
Afghanistan: Courtesy of ICC

“If we win we know we have a good run rate so we could be the team to be in the semifinals. So just to go out there, enjoy your skills, enjoy your cricket. As long as you are enjoying I think there is more chances you could perform,” he added.

Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had impressive figures of 2 for 14 on his white-ball comeback, while Mohammed Shami picked 3 wickets as well. Ravichandran Ashwin, who last played an international game in June in the World Test Championship, finally got a game after nearly four and half months. . He was named in the playing XI after mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy developed a left calf issue.

For Afghanistan, the positive from the game was Karim Janat, who scored an unbeaten 42 off 22 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes besides taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma in his only over.

India 210 for 2 (Rohit 74, Rahul 69) beat Afghanistan 144 for 7 (Janat 42*, Nabi 35, Shami 3-32, Ashwin 2-14) by 66 runs

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Afghanistan Aren’t Pushovers As They Have A Good Bowling Attack: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir said it won’t be an easy task for India to go after the Afghanistan bowlers in their must-win Super 12, Group 2 match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Afghanistan’s batting may not strike fear into the opposition, but their spin-bowling attack comprising Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi is enough to give sleepless nights to any team in the T20 World Cup. Stressing on that point, former India opener Gautam Gambhir said it won’t be an easy task for Virat Kohli and Co. to go after the Afghanistan bowlers in their must-win Super 12, Group 2 match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman

Gautam Gambhir: Afghanistan Aren’t Pushovers As They Have A Better Bowling Attack Than Sri Lanka And Bangladesh

Gautam Gambhir said Afghanistan has a better bowling attack than the likes of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The fastest to 100 wickets in 53 T20Is, leg spinner Rashid Khan single-handedly tested Pakistan with his leg-spin before an Asif Ali cameo saw Pakistan win. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, a mystery spinner who has nearly all the variations, returned his career-best T20I figures of 5-20 in his team’s 130-run rout of Scotland.

“Afghanistan aren’t pushovers. They have a better bowling attack than the likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” Gambhir said ahead of India vs Afghanistan encounter. 

India’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals from this group are hanging on a thread. However, after having suffered confidence-denting defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two matches, their only option is to win their next three games against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia comprehensively and then hope any of these three sides would go on to beat New Zealand, bringing the net run rate into play.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir said this situation can act as an added motivation to the Indian batters.

“In such a situation when runs are dried up, batters tend to play for their position, which can be extra motivation. Do that and get runs on the board. You try to win first, rather than thinking about the NRR. Once you are in the game, you play according to the situation,” he added. 

The IPL came under severe criticism after India pacer Jasprit Bumrah acknowledged that fatigue was one of the reasons for the Men-in-Blue’s below-par show in this World Cup so far. Gautam Gambhir, however, disagreed.

Gautam Gambhir: One Can’t Blame IPL For The World Cup Debacle

The former left-hander said it is wrong to blame the IPL for the World Cup debacle so far. The Indian batters did not show enough intent against New Zealand, which has nothing to do with the IPL.

“You can’t blame the IPL. If anything goes wrong with Indian cricket, everyone starts pointing fingers towards the IPL. This is wrong. Sometimes, you have to expect that 2-3 teams are playing better cricket than you. The earlier you accept that, the better it will be for you.”

“In the previous game against New Zealand, we weren’t brave enough, we were so nervous before the game. What has that got to do with IPL? It was similar in the 2019 World Cup semi-final as well. At that time, we had come to the World Cup after playing in the Indian Premier League as well!” Gambhir added.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy, Image Credits: Twitter

The former KKR skipper said IPL is important to give adequate match practice to players.

“Instead, IPL is important because players need adequate match practice. You can’t go into the World Cup with 2-3 games of practice and warm-ups,” he said. 

India had to beat New Zealand to revive their campaign and were expected to come hard at the Blackcaps, but the complete opposite happened when they took the field in Dubai. Earlier, in their opening game, Virat Kohli’s men couldn’t defend 152 in Dubai as Pakistan’s openers chased it down in 17.5 overs. After being asked to bat first, the Men in Blue managed just 110 for 7 in 20 overs and then saw the Blackcaps gun down the target in just 14.3 overs.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)
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Suryakumar Yadav Should Play Against Afghanistan If He’s Deemed Fit To Return, Says Ajit Agarkar

Ajit Agarkar, the former India pacer, wants the Indian team to bring back Suryakumar Yadav into the playing XI if he is deemed fit to return. The right-handed batter missed the contest against New Zealand due to back spasms.

Suryakumar Yadav was seen during India’s optional training session with assistant strength and conditioning coach Soham Desai. Physio Nitin Patel and strength and conditioning coach Nick Webb are keeping a close eye on Suryakumar Yadav’s road to recovery.

Ajit Agarkar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ajit Agarkar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ajit Agarkar: Suryakumar Yadav Comes In Against Afghanistan If He’s Fit

Ajit Agarkar felt that with the return of Suryakumar Yadav in the playing XI, Rohit Sharma can go back at the top of the order alongside KL Rahul. In India’s match against New Zealand, Rohit Sharma had dropped at number 3, as Ishan Kishan, who replaced Suryakumar Yadav, opened the innings.

While previewing India’s upcoming group stage match against Afghanistan, Ajit Agarkar said Rohit Sharma would open. At the same time, India may not tinker with Hardik Pandya’s batting position, but his form is definitely a concern.

“Suryakumar Yadav if he is fit, comes in for me. Rohit goes to open the innings. Pandya’s form is certainly a concern, but if you’ve backed him for 2 games, then you don’t want to tinker too much. He also bowled a couple of overs in the last game, so that helps.”

Ajit Agarkar also felt that a change in mindset would help India. Suryakumar Yadav’s inclusion will definitely strengthen India’s fragile middle order. He scored 11 against Pakistan and unbeaten 38 and 8 in warm-up games prior to the match against arch-rivals but has scored heavily in IPL and bilateral series against England at home.

“India would just look to bat better. change in venue, I don’t know about that but a change of mindset definitely would.”

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan - SPORTZPICS
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – SPORTZPICS

Pakistan batter Shan Masood, however, felt that India should look to exploit the seam-friendly conditions in Abu Dhabi. He feels India can look to go with four pacers in the playing XI.

“Abu Dhabi has the most seam friendly conditions out of all the venues. India could play an additional pacer and rest one spinner against an Afghanistan team that plays spin well. That might be the only change that’s on offer, other wise it should be the same team.”

India’s fate could well be sealed by a defeat to Afghanistan, while a potential win could keep their slim hopes of qualifying into the semi-finals intact. India was handed crushing defeats by Pakistan (10 wickets) and New Zealand (8 wickets) and is yet to open its account. They need to win their remaining three encounters against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia and hope for other results to go their way to qualify for the knockout stages.

Ajit Agarkar Feels Indian Batsmen Shouldn’t Take Unnecessary Ricks Against Afghan Leg Spinner Rashid Khan

Ajit Agarkar noted that taking risks against Rashid Khan could prove to be futile and that India should focus on getting runs off the rest of the bowling attack. The leg-spinner has been in fine form while the Indian batsmen have fared horribly against spin so far in the World Cup.

“You have to look at the situation. Very few batsman successfully manage to attack Rashid Khan. If you are getting enough runs against the rest of the bowling attack, no need to take unnecessary risks against Rashid.”, Ajit Agarkar elaborated.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Shan Masood also concluded by stating that India should be careful with Rashid Khan, given the fact of how consistent he is. The fastest to 100 wickets in 53 T20Is, leg spinner Rashid Khan single-handedly tested Pakistan with his leg-spin before an Asif Ali cameo saw Pakistan win. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, a mystery spinner who has nearly all the variations, returned his career-best T20I figures of 5-20 in his team’s 130-run rout of Scotland.

“Very rare to see Rashid have an off day, so India naturally should be careful.”

India will see a shift in venues for the first time in their campaign after having played their first two contests in Dubai. The Men In Blue will take on Afghanistan in a do-or-die encounter on November 3. After that, they will return to Dubai to compete in their final two group matches against Namibia and Scotland.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Aakash Chopra On India’s Prospects In 2021 T20I WC – “We Have Already Put Our Lives’ Remote Control In Others’ Hands”

Aakash Chopra has pointed out that Team India’s fate is no longer in their own hands and that they are dependent on other results to make the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.

The Indian team was handed crushing defeats by Pakistan (10 wickets) and New Zealand (8 wickets) and is yet to open its account in the marquee tournament. They need to win their remaining three encounters against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia and hope for other results to go their way to qualify for the knockout stages.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: India’s Fate Is Hanging By A Very Thin Thread

While previewing tonight’s clash against Afghanistan in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that Team India will have to rely on other results as well.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “Nothing is easy, to win a match in the World Cup, now I see all the matches as difficult. We have lost to Pakistan and New Zealand. Our fate is hanging by a very thin thread. We have already put our lives’ remote control in others’ hands.”

India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Team India cannot consider Afghanistan as pushovers.

Aakash Chopra observed: “I am still saying India will win but is it actually a cakewalk. There are no games that are cakewalks in this World Cup as far as we are concerned. The toss will be in focus again. But do you still need the toss to defeat Afghanistan? Toss is important but it is not the be-all and end-all.”

Team India will hope that Virat Kohli wins the toss and they get to chase for the first time in the tournament. With Afghanistan showing a preference for setting targets, the toss might not have any relevance.

Aakash Chopra: Afghanistan Is A Serious Threat For Having 3 Excellent Spinners In Their Squad

Aakash Chopra pointed out that Team India will have their task cut out against the likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. Afghanistan is equipped with arguably the best spin attack in the tournament with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman sharing 13 wickets between them.

Rashid Khan, the fastest to 100 wickets in 53 T20Is single-handedly tested Pakistan with his leg-spin before an Asif Ali cameo saw Pakistan win. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, a mystery spinner who has nearly all the variations, returned his career-best T20I figures of 5-20 in his team’s 130-run rout of Scotland.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “Afghanistan is a serious threat. Take them lightly at your own peril. If we were stuck in front of Shadab, Ish and Santner, there will be three excellent spinners here. If Mujeeb is fit, our story is going to be very difficult.”

Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman

The 44-year-old concluded by stating that the Afghanistan batters could also pose a serious challenge to Team India.

Aakash Chopra said: “Afghanistan have batsmen who like to play the big shots. Their batsmen don’t have any timidness. They do have a very decent batting lineup. They will keep on attacking. If a guy is there for 30 balls, he will kill you.”

Apart from their batting issues, Team India has also been found wanting in the bowling department. They will need their bowlers to be at the top of their game to restrict Afghanistan’s big-hitters. Underdogs Afghanistan are second behind group leaders Pakistan in the table and another win would boost their hopes for a place in the final four.

Below par totals of 151 (v Pakistan) and 110 (v New Zealand) are not usually associated with a team having world-class batsmen including Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. But India’s batting has been found wanting against the quality pace attacks of Pakistan and New Zealand on a Dubai pitch that was one of the venues of the recent Indian Premier League.

In a procession against a Trent Boult-inspired Kiwi bowling line-up, KL Rahul (18), Ishan Kishan (4), Rohit Sharma (14), and Virat Kohli (9) returned to the dugout with the scoreboard reading 48. In Pakistan’s opening game against India, lanky Pakistan paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi put India on the back foot from the start with the wickets of openers Rohit Sharma (0) and KL Rahul (3) off his first seven deliveries. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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T20 World Cup 2021: It Would Be Great If India Makes It To The Final With Pakistan, Says Saqlain Mushtaq

Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again in the final of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Pakistan started their World Cup campaign with a thumping 10-wicket victory over arch-rivals India and then followed it by the resounding win against New Zealand by five wickets. Men in Green are currently unbeaten in the T20I WC, with a perfect two in two records at the showpiece.

Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004
Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004 (Reuters)

Saqlain Mushtaq: One Doesn’t Think About Opponent While Coming With A Mindset To Become A World Champion

Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004. Saqlain Mushtaq, known for introducing the Doosra, in his first full year (1996) with the Pakistan team, established a record for the most ODI wickets in a calendar year (65).

He then did even better the following year, setting a mark (69) that still stands. His impact was so great that he became the fastest bowler in history in terms of time (one year and 225 days) to reach the landmark of 100 ODI wickets, and to this day, no one else has got there in less than two years.

“When you come with a mindset to become a world champion then you don’t think about the opponent.

“You rather think whoever comes in, you do what you have to do and want to do. So we are thinking on the same lines day in and day out that whoever is against us in the next stage we will accept it,” Saqlain Mushtaq said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.

Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman

“If you want to become a world champion then you have to live up to the requirements — being tough, being well-prepared, and playing cricket different from the others, and it shows that you are a genuine World Cup winner. If you want to be a world champion then you should be thoroughly [tested] so that the world actually recognizes you.”

On Friday, Pakistan will face a stiff test against one of the best spin attacks in the competition, featuring Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. It’s not a test Pakistan has faced too often: they have met Afghanistan only once in T20Is, beating them with one ball to spare back in 2013, when Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman were yet to make their debuts.

Saqlain Mushtaq: It Would Be Great If India Makes It To The Final Of The 2021 T20I WC Alongside Pakistan

Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again and beat them again in the T20 World Cup final. He also feels more meetings between the sides will only improve relations between the two neighbours.

“If India makes it to the final with us, it would be a great thing because I feel — and this is not because we became big-headed after beating them — but because they are a strong team, everyone considers them a favourite. England and Australia always play tough cricket too.”

“One doesn’t have results in their hand but what we have in hand is our process, how we plan, our commitment, how we fight and bounce back and things we can control so we don’t focus on results and the opponent. If India comes in the final, then it would be very good for the ICC, fans around the world, and for world cricket — everyone will enjoy it. They are our neighbouring country and playing one more match would only improve our relations,” he pointed.

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India's score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India’s score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki

“Hats off to Dhoni, Virat, Babar, Malik, Dahani, Rizwan, Imad, Hafeez — their picture of hugging and meeting each other after the Pak-India game has sent a strong message to the world about love,” the head coach of Pakistan added.

Pakistan next faces Afghanistan on Friday, followed by matches against Associate teams Namibia and Scotland. Afghanistan had demolished Scotland in their opener to give themselves a considerable net run rate boost and sit just under their neighbours on the points table.

Babar Azam stroked his way to 68 while his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan, smashed 79 as the Indian bowlers struggled to contain the two batters. Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start and post 151/7 against Pakistan in Sunday’s ICC T20 World Cup match.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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Afghanistan T20 World Cup Squad 2021, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

Afghanistan is placed currently on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. The above-mentioned players will have a big responsibility on their back.

There was a question mark over the participation of Afghanistan in the ICC T20 World Cup after the Taliban takeover in the country. However, reports have emerged that the team will definitely participate in the tournament. The seventh edition of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is all set to commence from October 17.

Meanwhile, the summit clash will take place on November 14. Notably, the tournament was scheduled to begin in India. The ICC later shifted it to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and OMAN due to the Covid-19 scare in India.

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Afghanistan. Credits: Twitter

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan Quit As Skipper After Squad Was Announced

Notably, minnows and relative newcomers in the international arena, Afghanistan has never won an ICC T20 World Cup Trophy and never even made it to the finals of the marquee event. However, under the leadership of Mohammad Nabi, they will be hoping for a better outcome in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021. Notably, Team Afghanistan made an entry in the Super 12s of the marquee event through direct qualification.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is placed in Group 2 of ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Alongside India, New Zealand, and Pakistan they will be joined by 2 other teams from the qualifier stage.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Meanwhile, there was a lot of chaos during the announcement of the squad as the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 World Cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy.

Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team. Rashid Khan decided to step down from captaincy after the spinner claimed that his “consent” was not obtained before announcing the squad for ICC men’s T20 World Cup slated to be played in UAE and Oman.

Afghanistan’s Squad For The Upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

Afghanistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)
Afghanistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Nabi ( C ), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Naveen ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Qais Ahmad. Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Fareed Ahmad

Star leg spinner Rashid Khan will spearhead the attack and has been joined by fellow all-rounders Mohammad Nabi and Sharafuddin Ashraf in the squad. Front-line spinners Qais Ahmad and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are also included in the Afghanistan roster for the tournament.

The Complete schedule of Afghanistan for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

25 October 2021: vs Qualifier (B1), Sharjah (07:30 PM IST)

29 October  2021: vs Pakistan, Dubai (7:30 PM IST)

31 October 2021: vs Qualifier (A2), Abu Dhabi (3:30 PM IST)

3 November 2021: vs India, Abu Dhabi (07:30 PM IST)

7 November 2021: vs New Zealand, Abu Dhabi (03:30 PM IST)

Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
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ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

ICC T20I World Cup 2021 is just a month away from taking place after a gap of five years and the excitement for the tournament in UAE is at its’ peak already. The previous edition took place in 2016 when West Indies emerged as the champions and this will be a 12 team affair this time around for the group stages.

The top eight teams from the T20 international rankings qualified automatically for the league stages of the T20 Worldcup while the remaining four teams will have to make it through the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 qualifiers. Surprisingly, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh haven’t been able to make it to the league stages and are placed in the qualifiers. Here are 4 teams that won’t be able to qualify for the semi-finals of ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Probably Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

Australia:

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty

Australia is one of the powerhouses in world cricket at present for a long time now and they still continue to dominate best teams but haven’t been doing it on a consistent basis. But recent losses to West Indies and Bangladesh with a depleted squad saw their reputation diminish.

When it comes to T20 cricket, Australia hasn’t always been the team to watch out for as they do have a lot of stars in their lineup but despite that, they have lacked the T20 flavour. 2010 was the only year they reached the finals of the ICC T20I World Cup and they lost to England.

Australia’s recent form in T20I hasn’t been impressive either as they lost the T20I series in West Indies 4-1 and lost a bilateral series for the first time against Bangladesh which wasn’t the ideal preparation they needed. Australia has been placed in a strong group comprising of England, West Indies, and South Africa and their chances of making it to the semifinals look bleak at the moment.

Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh. With the return of big names like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, and Pat Cummins the Aaron Finch-led side will be looking forward to gaining back the momentum.

South Africa:

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

South Africa has lacked the edge needed in the knockouts to progress to the finals of the tournament and it has been evident through their results so far in ICC events. They haven’t made it to a final in ICC T20 World Cup yet and have been succumbing down when it comes to pressure games for which they are labelled chokers.

The Proteas are a different looking side now without AB De Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and their new skipper Temba Bavuma will have a huge responsibility under his belt for the T20I World Cup. Their bowling attack does look good but they are expected to struggle with their inexperienced batting lineup and are unlikely to progress to the semi-finals after being placed in a tough group.

They are currently placed on the 5th spot in ICC T20 Internationals rankings. Also in the last 5 T20 international series, they have lost 3 series. They have some exceptionally talented players like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassi Van Der Dussen, and David Miller on the team but have left out experienced Chris Morris, Faf du Plessis, and Imran Tahir.

Afghanistan :

Afghanistan
Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been one of the teams that have come from far behind in terms of development and the results are there to see as well. They have produced a lot of young match winners already and the best example is Rashid Khan who has been the best spinner in the world in the last two years globally.

Afghanistan has picked up a good squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 but they have a lot of issues going on with the Taliban government and it will certainly take a toll on their performance. They have gone in for experience in the fast bowling department and Rashid Khan has stepped out as the captain of the side as well for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021. With India and New Zealand in the group, Afghanistan might not be able to progress to the semi-finals.

Currently, Afghanistan is placed on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 world cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy. Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team.

Pakistan:

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan is looking like a better group in the last few international series and with the change in the coaching staff and the Director, a lot could change for the Pakistan side ahead of the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

However, their recent performances haven’t been up to the mark especially in England and they still have holes to fill inside the group. Lead by captain Babar Azam, Pakistan will kickstart their ICC T20I World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals India in Dubai on 24 October.

They will then face New Zealand in Sharjah on 26 October before returning to Dubai to take on Afghanistan. Their last two matches in the Super 12 stages will see them face runners-up of Group A and table-toppers of Group B from Round 1 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah respectively.

Their middle order needed some solid experience and they have gone in for youngsters who had failed earlier. Their fast bowling and spin department don’t look bad either but they still do not like getting past New Zealand and India who have strong depth in their squads for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Pakistan chose youth over experience for the backup wicketkeeper spot with the inclusion of Azam Khan over Sarfaraz Ahmed. Azam Khan has featured in only three T20Is in his career and has aggregated only six runs in two innings but his exploits in domestic T20 competitions has helped him seal a berth in the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 World Cup, having last played a T20I for Pakistan earlier this year against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively.

They did not find a place in the squad for the tours of England and the West Indies. The experienced campaigners Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, and Sarfaraz Ahmed surprisingly didn’t find a place in ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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Azizullah Fazli Confirmed ACB Planning A Preparatory Camp For Afghanistan Players For T20I World Cup

Azizullah Fazli, the new chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed that the ACB is planning a preparatory camp for the national team in a foreign country.

Soon after the Taliban took over the reins of Afghanistan, the country’s premier cricketers — Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi — took to Twitter seeking support from the world leaders.  The cricketers made the emotional appeal from the United Kingdom, where they were playing for their respective franchises in the inaugural ‘The Hundred’ tournament.

Newly appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Azizullah Fazli
Newly appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Azizullah Fazli (Photo | YouTube screengrab)

Azizullah Fazli Assured Afghanistan Cricketers That The Country Is Secure

Azizullah Fazli, the new chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), however, affirmed that they spoke to these cricketers and gave them assurance that the country is safe.

“We have spoken to those players who were worried about the political situation in Afghanistan. We have assured them regarding the current situation and that the country is secure. Now, they are in a good mood,”Azizullah Fazli told this daily in a reply to a questionnaire sent to him on Tuesday.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. Image Credits: Twitter

He also confirmed that the ACB is planning a preparatory camp for the national team in a foreign country.

“We will have a camp for the Afghanistan cricket team in a foreign country to ensure they will be well prepared for the T20 World Cup commencing in October in UAE and Oman,” said Azizullah Fazli

The political upheaval in the country also led to speculations over Afghanistan cricketers’ participation in the Indian Premier League resuming next month. The ACB chairman assured that their cricketers will participate in the IPL as usual. Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, and Mujeeb-ur Rahman are some of the Afghanistan players who are regular features in IPL teams.

Rashid Khan is one of the most sought-after T20 freelancers in world cricket currently. Both Mohammed Nabi and Rashid Khan have urged the world leaders to intervene as Afghanistan faces its worst socio-political crisis in the last two decades.

Azizullah Fazli Asserted Afghanistan And Pakistan Series Will Be Played In 2022

Afghanistan was scheduled to play their first bilateral series against Pakistan in Hambantota, Sri Lanka starting next month. The three-match ODI series, however, was postponed on Monday.

“Due to the overall conditions including the mental health of the players, we had to postpone the series,” ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari was quoted as saying.

Afghanistan vs Pakistan , AFP File Photo
Afghanistan vs Pakistan, AFP File Photo

Azizullah Fazli also asserted that the series will be played next year.

“Both the teams will play the series in 2022. The venue has not been finalized yet.”

Speaking on his role as ACB chairman and the plans ahead, he said, “After the Afghanistan Islamic Emirate took control of the country, they decided to look for the right and deserving person to lead the cricket board. Finally, they appointed me as the chairman.”

“It has to be mentioned here that I have worked for Afghanistan cricket development for nearly two decades. It’s my first week on the job and we are already on our way to organize Shpageeza Tournament, a local T20 league being organized by the board. I hope we will continue doing the good work,” Fazli signed off.

Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan has been postponed indefinitely after talks between the two boards concluded that logistical challenges were making it tough for the Afghanistan contingent to travel to Sri Lanka and the situation in Afghanistan would not have left their players in a good mental space. The PCB also tweeted that both boards will try to reschedule the series for 2022.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Hamid Shinwari confirmed that they tried to move the series to Pakistan, but eventually decided to postpone the series considering the situation around Afghanistan.

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