The calm and collective batting effort of the Afghanistan team has found its own set of admirers in the ongoing World Cup and head coach Jonathan Trott has set the next target for his players — someone needs to bat deep and score a hundred in remaining three games.
Enjoying their best ever performance, Afghanistan have been on a giant killing run in the ongoing 50-over showpiece with comprehensive wins over defending champions England, rivals Pakistan and 1996 winners Sri Lanka, proving that they can no longer be termed as minnows.
“Nobody has got a hundred so far yet, so that’s the next challenge. Someone accepts responsibility and batting for a longer period of time and make sure we get a hundred,” Trott said at the press conference after Afghanistan’s seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Monday.
The likes of opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah have come close but haven’t been able to reach the magical three figure mark in the ongoing event.
“You see, a lot of hundreds are scored in the tournament. That’s the next frontier, the next barrier. Gurbaz has scored a few hundreds recently, you know Ibrahim has.
“The middle order is in form, 3-4-5-6, as well. That’s the next challenge and I have got no doubt that the players will be able to (get hundred) in the future. Hopefully, it starts with the next game,” Trott added.
Armed with a potent bowling attack, Afghanistan initially felt more comfortable defending totals but their batters have shown maturity as they have taken the side to back-to-back victories, chasing totals.
“I think we’ve been working really hard at our batting and doing the basics. I know it’s very cliche, but the way that we train, the way we think about our cricket, certainly with batting, the way that we accept responsibility at times as well, I think you’re starting to see hopefully not the penny drop, but we’re starting to see also the confidence in the players, in their own ability,” Trott said.
The win against Sri Lanka has elevated Afghanistan to the fifth spot. They are playing Netherlands, Australia and South Africa in the remaining league games.
“I think the players and I hope that they realise the strides they’ve made in these matches but also there’s still extra room to be done with bat, ball, and in the field.
“So, there’s still three games to go. But we’ll certainly enjoy tonight’s victory against a very good Sri Lankan side, who recently won the T20 Asia Cup (2022). They were in the final of the ODI Asia Cup (in September). So really happy,” Trott said.
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