Sports desk: Mushfiqur Rahim opines that Afghanistan would start as favourites in the forthcoming T20I series in Dehradun owing to their potent spin axis of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Rashid (13 wickets) and Mujeeb (14 wickets) are among the leading wicket-takers in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League and have been rather miserly while taking all those wickets.
Mushfiqur believes Afghanistan will also have the advantage of playing in familiar conditions in India, their adopted home. ”They will play at their home ground which will be a big advantage for them,” Mushfiqur told reporters ahead of the series.
“Rashid Khan is a world-class bowler. No team in the IPL was able to take more than six to seven runs from him except one match,
”Then they got Test status and will play a Test match next. They are also a good side in ODIs and they have qualified for the World Cup. So everything will be in their favour and [on top of it] they will play in the familiar surface. So I think because of all these reasons we will start the series from behind,’ he added.
Afghanistan’s recent triumph in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe despite losing their first three games of the competition is being seen as an example of the rapid strides made in the international circuit.
However, Mushfiqur believes that Bangladesh’s performance in the Nidahas Trophy, where they earned a spot in the final at the expense of host Sri Lanka, will hold the side in good stead going into the Afghanistan series.
”We will get confidence from our last Twenty20 series in Sri Lanka. It was important for us to beat Sri Lanka and perform well against India,” said Mushfiq. ”We have to go ahead by making plans and we are hopeful that we will do well. We have some highly experienced capable players. If they click at the right time we will have a great series,” he added.
Bangladesh will travel to Dehradun on May 29 and are scheduled to play a practice match on June 1 before the start of the series. Bangladesh will play three T20Is against their Asian rivals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on June 3, 5 and 7 respectively.