Afghanistan eye World Twenty20 after Asia Cup snub | Pakistan Today

Afghanistan eye World Twenty20 after Asia Cup snub

Afghanistan are determined to use their resentment over being snubbed for the Asia Cup to fire them to a second appearance at the World Twenty20. The Afghans are among the favourites to land one of the two places up for grabs at the 2012 finals in Sri Lanka in September and October when the 16-nation qualifying tournament starts on Tuesday. But such has been the team’s remarkable progress in recent years — from a ramshackle unit developing a love of the sport in refugee camps on Pakistan’s wild frontier to attaining one-day status — that they believe they deserve more respect.
The team are angry that they were overlooked for the Asia Cup in Dhaka this week, where they could have faced regional powers India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “We are not featuring in the Asia Cup, that is really disappointing,” said hard-hitting batsman and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, who was the leading wicket-taker when Afghanistan qualified for the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean. “How are we going to improve if we do not play against these teams? “The ICC should also make sure that any team that comes to Asia for a series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan or India also plays one-dayers or Twenty20s against Afghanistan,” Nabi told PakPassion.net.
Afghanistan will once again be coached at the qualifiers by Kabir Khan, who has returned to the hot seat, succeeding Rashid Latif. A former Pakistan fast bowler, Kabir was the man responsible for fashioning Afghanistan’s qualification for the 2010 finals in the West Indies. With the qualifiers once again being played in the UAE, Afghanistan skipper Nawroz Mangal believes that the recent Pakistan-England T20 series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has provided an indication of how sides should approach the event.
“It was good to watch them play. These are not pitches for 180-200 (runs). On the pitches in UAE, even 130-135 is fine. So we have to be sensible when thinking of a target to set,” he said. Ireland will also be favourites to progress to the Sri Lanka showpiece and captain William Porterfield believes his team, with three recent T20 wins over Kenya under their belts, have hit form at the right time. “We played three T20 games and won all three. The past few weeks have been a good reminder about our abilities. We are confident that we have covered all aspects of our game,” said Porterfield. One of the most unlikely sides in the 16-nation event are Nepal, whose captain Paras Khadka admits that to qualify for the World Twenty20 would be the biggest achievement in his country’s sporting history.
“We have the opportunity to create and make history and we will try and give every ounce of what we have in us to achieve our goal of qualification,” said 24-year-old Khadka. “We went on a tour to Mumbai recently, where we played around nine matches. It was a decent outing as we got some good exposure in good cricketing conditions, which were also humid.” The qualifying tournament also features the Netherlands, Kenya, Canada, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Hong Kong, Uganda, Bermuda, Oman, Denmark, Italy and the USA.



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