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Dhaka Tribune

‘We want to show our talent to the world’

Update : 24 Feb 2014, 05:35 PM

Afghanistan will make their maiden Asia Cup appearance when they face defending champions of the tournament Pakistan on Thursday. The team, known all over for their die hard approach, did very well in the past two years and they can surely consider the Asia Cup as their reward.

Appearing for the first time and playing against some top teams in a tournament will be a tough task and Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said they just want to stage their ability in front of the world.  

“It’s a tough tournament and we are playing for the first time in Asia Cup. Our challenge is to prove how we can play against full members and show our talent to the world that Afghanistan is the best team among Associate members," said Nabi during a press conference at their team hotel yesterday.

Afghanistan has been a talking point for most captains, especially from Bangladesh as both teams hold the capability of beating each other. The other day Mushfiqur Rahim, during their press conference, did say that he was concerned about their game against the Afghans.

Nabi was very honest in admitting the praise and said, "They know how we play, that’s why they talk about us.It’sgood news that other team captains are talking about Afghanistan team. We will try our best to play good cricket in this tournament.”

In the recent Dhaka Premier League, there were a few Afghanistan players recruited by the clubs which certainly proves about their ability to play in foreign leagues. Nabi, among the others, played five matches for Mohammedan Sporting Club and scored 223 runs at an average of 44.6. His best score was in the form of a match winning 146 off 90 balls against Prime Doleshwar on his Dhaka league debut.

“Yes I have played in BPL and the Dhaka Premier League. In both tournaments I performed very well and I know the grounds and pitches in Bangladesh. It’s good for me and we will try our best to perform.

“Rahmat Shah, Asghar Stanikzai, Gulbadan Naib, Shahzad and Shapoor, maybe half of team played in Bangladesh and this is good experience for them and also good for Afghanistan,” said Nabi.

The Afghans have been in Sri Lanka for the last month for a conditioning camp as part of their build up to the Asia Cup and the World T20. It is very much possible for them to pull an upset against the hosts and Nabi said though they are not targeting any team in particular but Shakib al Hasan missing from the Bangladesh line-up will be an advantage.

“We will try our best against every team. There is no target. We will play good cricket and when time comes, we will win. I hear about Shakib al Hasan banned for three matches. This is a good chance as he is a key player for Bangladesh. We will take it as a priority and look forward to it,” said Nabi.

It doesn’t often happen that Afghanistan plays top ranked teams and with very little experience against the Asian teams, Nabi hoped to give them a tough time and also look for a win when possible.

“It’s a very good feeling to play against big teams. We played against India and Pakistan in big events like World Cup and against Pakistan we played T20 and ODI in Sharjah. That was a very good experience at that time, may be they know how Afghanistan plays and we hope to give them a tough time,” he said.

The 29-year-old was confident of his teammates and also indicated youngster Najeeb Zadran as their rising star. “We have a new talent from U-19, Najeeb Zadran. A good talent and a young guy andhe already performed against Pakistan in T20.I hope he will perform here as well,” said the skipper.

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