The Afghans have been drawn alongside 2007 champions India, England, South Africa and two yet to be decided qualifiers in group two of the Super 12 stage for the tournament.
It has been a remarkable rise in international cricket for the war-ravaged nation who made their first World T20 appearance in 2010. Now ranked No8 in the format above Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Afghans have come a long way since their debut in the competition.
One of the chief catalysts of their meteoric rise has been leg-spinner Rashid Khan who holds the No1 ranking for bowlers currently in the T20 format. Speaking on the sidelines of the World Cup draw on Tuesday, the 20-year-old praised the impact the team’s rise on the international stage has created back home in the country.
“It feels good. People back home, they love cricket. It has changed everything in the country in the last five-six years. The young generation … everyone’s following cricket, they love it. It means a lot that Afghanistan is participating in the World Cup,” the leg-spinner told the ICC.
“The fans are loving it. They love the sport, they love cricket. We players just try and give 100 per cent in each and every competition. Everywhere, we try our best to give something to the people back home. I know what is happening, so there is nothing else that can bring such a smile on their faces,” Rashid added.
The Afghans possess a fearsome spin trio with Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi also in tow and Rashid is backing them to do well in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
“We – me, (Mohammad) Nabi, Mujeeb – we just try and give our best in each and every game. The World Cup will be good experience. Can’t wait for it,” he said.
The men’s edition of the 2020 T20 World Cup will get underway on October 18 with the qualifying stage first up. The Super 12 group stage involving Afghanistan begins on October 24.
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