ICC World Cup 2023: India need to be careful against talented Afghan spinners

Afghanistan's strength lies in spin, with maestro Rashid Khan leading the attack

By Ayaz Memon

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Afghanistan's Rashid Khan during a practice session. — AFP
Afghanistan's Rashid Khan during a practice session. — AFP

Published: Tue 10 Oct 2023, 2:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 Oct 2023, 1:51 PM

India’s impressive victory over Australia in a tight match showcased their talent, team balance and determination to succeed.

The bowlers, especially spinners, had been splendid in restricting Aussies to a modest score.

But at 2-3 while chasing 200, the situation looked grim. To recover from that precarious position and win then by six wickets was a commendable effort.

The steely resolve and brilliant strokeplay of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul atoned for the failure of Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer with all three of them failing to open their account.

These three batters will now look to get runs against Afghanistan in Wednesday's match for the stiffer challenges that lie ahead.

On paper, the gap between the two teams looks enormous. The Afghans are a hardy lot. They enjoy their cricket and have gained rapidly in skills and tactics to trouble far more experienced sides every now and then. But they don’t have as much talent or depth of experience.

Players like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Naveen-ul-Haq have also been regulars on the IPL circuit. They are familiar with Indian conditions and players, which will be of help.

Their strength lies in spin, with maestro Rashid the lynchpin. But to be competitive against India, the onus will on the batting, which is not as strong, even though they have some have exciting stroke-players like Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

Players To Watch Out For:


Ishan Kishan

Young left-handed opener Ishan Kishan had an ungratifying match against Australia, perishing cheaply in the innings, playing a loose shot. With Shubman Gill still unwell, Kishan will get another opportunity. However, another failure could well cost him a place in the playing XI.


Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Free-stroking opener and wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz has emerged as his team’s best batsman in recent times. The 21-year-old smashed a ferocious, unbeaten 119, including 9 sixes, in the World Cup warm-up game against Sri Lanka and made 47, the highest for his team, against Bangladesh a few days back. Could trouble India if he sustains this form.


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