As Afghanistan get ready to lock horns with West Indies in a three-match ODI series beginning on Wednesday, skipper Rashid Khan has stated that his men will look to play ‘smart cricket’ to tackle the power-packed Caribbean outfit.
The Afghans had previously been playing their ‘home’ matches in Dehradun in India and their base has now shifted to Lucknow – the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. With the boundary sizes at the Ekana Cricket Stadium being a significant upgrade on those of Dehradun, Rashid wants his men to play smart.
“We are not big in size, but we hit big sixes,” the Afghan leg-spin sensation said in his pre-series press conference on Sunday.
“We have the Afghani power and this boundary will also be small for us. But we will have to play smart cricket and not focus much on big shots.
“Because on such big ground, you have to play smart cricket.”
West Indies arrive for the series with a squad laden with performers in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League. Former head coach Phil Simmons is back at the helm for a second stint while big-hitting all-rounder Kieron Pollard has been appointed as the new captain of the limited-overs outfits.
While the visitors carry a big threat with the bat with the presence of Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis and Brandon King, Rashid has urged Afghanistan to focus on their own strengths.
“We will not focus on how they are against the spin. We will play our best cricket and deliver our best bowling performance,” said Rashid.
For recently appointed head coach and former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusner, the three ODI and as many T20 clashes offer Afghanistan a chance to build their squad for next year’s Asia Cup and T20 World Cup.
“Any series is important from here on as the Asia Cup and the World Cup are coming,” Klusner stated.
“Any series will bring us closer to finding the team that is going to take us in those big tournaments. So, the sooner we find those combinations, the better it is.”
Windies will warm-up for the three-match ODI series with a practice day-night match against an Afghanistan XI in Lucknow on Monday.
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