The Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team will play its second match of the ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 against Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday. After a win against Australia, with superlative performance from the bowlers, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, India would be pumped up to maintain the momentum against Afghanistan. The match is also likely to pit Virat Kohli against Afghanistan’s Naveen-ul-Haq. The two share a history after being involved in an ugly spat during an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match earlier this year.
Virat Kohli, playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Naveen-ul-Haz, playing for Lucknow Super Giants, had a heated argument during the match in Lucknow. The incident between the two again came up during the pre-match conference of the Cricket World CUp match.
After struggling against spin in their tournament opener, Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi on Tuesday said it was a one-off and his batters are well equipped to deal with the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Co in the World Cup game against India here on Wednesday. Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan had taken three wickets each as Afghanistan were bowled out for 156 in Dharamsala.
Afghanistan have world class spinners in their ranks with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran bowling in the nets regularly.
“We play better spinners in the net sessions. Like if you see Rashid, Nabi, Noor and Mujeeb, we play them every day. So, I think our team is far better in playing spin bowling.
“So that game you know we struggled but you can’t say that you are not good enough on one game. So that game is gone now and we know we can play spinners better and we will try to come back in next game in every department,” said Shahidi on the eve of the game.
The team’s trump card Rashid Khan went wicket less against Bangladesh as opposition batters chose to play safe against him.
Not taking too much risks against Rashid has been a trend but Shahidi said they are not too bothered about it.
“See, Rashid is the best bowler in ODI and T20s, so whatever opposition is doing, we don’t care about that, like how they play, they want to play Rashid, but for us the important thing is how he has planned against the opposition. So that matters for us.
“We are playing ODIs over the last six months so he knows how to bowl and he knows how to bowl to every team. He has the quality and whenever it’s his day he can do anything against the opposition, so we are expecting and we are hopeful that he delivers in tomorrow’s game.”
India used to be home base for Afghanistan for a long time. Their stars players are an integral part of the IPL and at times words will be exchanged on the field like it was the case between Naveen Ul Haq and Virat Kohli in the IPL earlier this year.
Asked about that incident, Shahidi added: “See, as you mentioned before also, like India is our home, it was our home, we played here and the people of India give a lot of love to Afghanistan people.
“And what happened in the ground, that aggression comes to every player, it’s not about India and Afghanistan. So, it can come to everyone. So, this happened and still like if you see a lot of our players, we have idols from Indian team like Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.”
With PTI inputs
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