More than a series win for Afghanistan

A special series win in the lead-up to the ODI World Cup is commendable but it didn't come without come sacrifices and hard work behind the scenes
A special series win in the lead-up to the ODI World Cup is commendable but it didn't come without come sacrifices and hard work behind the scenes ©Cricbuzz

After Afghanistan sealed their first ever ODI series win over Bangladesh, the players didn't go back to the dressing room. They instead went to the gallery filled with hundreds of their supporters and acknowledged their presence. That gallery was one of the noisiest spots during Afghanistan's record 142-run win in Chattogram, with chants of "Af-gha-nis-tan! Af-gha-nis-tan" reverberating around the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. The gallery chairs were no longer just chairs; they became drums to celebrate every time the ball made it past the boundary ropes.

Afghanistan cricketers spending time with their fans was a lovely moment for cricket all around but it hadn't come without come sacrifices and hard work behind the scenes.

Afghanistan were humiliated by Bangladesh in the one-off Test series before the start of the white-ball series. The Test loss came after the visitors beaten by Sri Lanka in the ODI series, and these two back-to-back losses surely had a toll on their confidence. No wonder they had a unique Eid celebration... at an intense training camp in the UAE.

"After losing in Sri Lanka and then losing the Test series here in Bangladesh, this series was very important before the Asia Cup and World Cup. We tried to analyze what we did wrong against Sri Lanka and in the Test match, and what should we do to get better (result in ODIs ) against Bangladesh," Afghanistan assistant coach Raees Ahmadzai told Cricbuzz on Sunday.

"We had a very intense camp. And when most of the people were celebrating Eid with family and friends back home, we decided to prepare in the camp because we had a important series against Bangladesh and beating them in their own den is not easy. The record says that after 2015 Afghanistan is the second team that beat Bangladesh in ODIs in their own backyard. So it (this series win) means a lot before the Asia Cup.

"There is a happy atmosphere inside the dressing room. Winning matches always makes you happy and it gives a good message to the players. Especially when you make a plan and everyone executes it, certainly that gives you some kind of satisfaction that cannot be described in words," Ahmadzai said.

"Everyone back home knows how difficult it is to play Bangladesh at home and now the expectation is higher because we know if we play like his we can beat any team anywhere."

Ahmadzai said he was impressed with the way the two batters Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran played the second game. "The happiest thing is that our batters, both Gurbaz and Ibrahim, assessed the conditions and made hundreds, And Gurbaz looked a totally different player as he took some time and waited for bad balls.

"Everyone knows Gurbaz has natural talent and he is a very clean hitter of the ball. And if he continues this mentality in the batting then I am sure he will be scoring more hundreds. But for that he should realize that not every single ball is there for hitting and not every single ball is there to slog. He got the reward by playing according to the merit of the ball," Ahmadzai said.

"Ibrahim is very calm and he has a solid technique. What he does is that as he makes batting look such an easy job that it gives confidence to the other members of the team," he said.

Afghanistan would be hoping that from hereon, their batting unit continues to click like it has against Bangladesh. And considering the versatile bowling attack they possess, batters coming to the party could really make them a tough team to beat in these conditions.



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