Veteran India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin believes that Afghanistan have a significant chance of doing well at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India. Ashwin also predicted that Afghanistan could very well beat at least two top sides at the mega event. The veteran spinner also stated that in favourable conditions, they will emerge as a force to be reckoned with as well.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin said: “Afghanistan is going to be the team to watch out for in this 2023 World Cup. I am sure they are going to beat at least two top sides in this year’s World Cup. A very dangerous team if the conditions are going to sit for them. Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s IPL stint has taken him into a different league,” said Ashwin. “He scored a 145-odd in the second ODI. Is he the only batter for them? No. They have their captain Hashmatullah Shahidi. He is anchoring the innings till 50 overs like how Gary Kirsten used to bat in those days. They have the finishers in Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Now they have found a talented opener in Ibrahim Zadran.”
Notably, Afghanistan are playing in a three-match ODI series against Bangladesh. With back-to-back wins in the first two matches, they have gained an unassailable 2-0 lead well. Ravichandran Ashwin also shared that India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan were the three Asian teams that were in the top four when the 50-over World Cup took place in the sub-continent in 2011. And, he said that this time around, Afghanistan are one of the frontrunners among the Asian teams to be in the semi-finals.
“The last time when the tournament took place in Asia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka qualified for the semis. This time, Afghanistan have a chance to qualify for the semis as one of the Asian giants. They are forming as one of the giants of Asian cricket,” he concluded.