Rashid Khan, the new Afghan captain, has identified fitness and preparedness as the two most important areas to work for after the appearance of Afghanistan in the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Afghanistan ended its campaign without a win and lost all nine games in Round Robin. They almost defeated India and Pakistan but could not maintain their excellence and conceded these games.
The performance came as a surprise, as they won over 50 against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the Asian Cup last year and were close to defeating Pakistan and India drew.
But it was a reminder of the level at which teams operate at an event like the World Cup, which is the pinnacle of the sport, and Rashid said they need to be both playful and mentally better prepared to cope with such situations the future.
“From here we have to take steps,” Rashid told. “We saw the World Cup, we saw the opposites and what should be the right preparation for it, and we have to be very strong mentally. We have to be fully fit and well prepared for such competitions. We do not currently play with associated teams, we play with the full members, so we have to be well planned and prepared.
“The most important thing is fitness, we have to be very fit. These are the things we need to improve in the years to come to be a better team that can beat any team. We have the talent, we have the skills. We just have to improve that. “
Rashid also said that players embarking on international cricket should be well prepared and that international players should focus largely on developing the mental aspect of their game.
“You need to have worked on your skills, not that when you come to the national side, you start working on it,” Rashid said. “When you come to the national side, you have to take care of the mental aspect [more]. And as a teenager, you should always believe in yourself and work hard. Then you can achieve everything. “
But the next World Cup is four years away. In the near future, Afghanistan can look forward to the ICC T20 World Cup, which will take place next year in Australia. “This is a very big challenge for us. As we said, we have the skills and the talent, but we need to improve. We need to know how to play against the big teams and what should be the right preparation against them, “said Rashid.
“As we saw, we had problems at this World Cup. [But] I think the 2023 World Cup is a bit far. The focus and goal is currently the T20 World Championship in Australia.
We will show how we are better and how we can do better in comparison to the last World Cup. All we have to do is improve and reduce the number of mistakes we have made in the past. Especially in our twenties we have the ability and the best team (we can have).
“And for the year 2023, we should know that from here a proper preparation for 50 overs should be made. The more we play against the top teams, the better we will be. So we are looking forward to more games and series with the big teams. “
After the World Cup Rashid was appointed captain for all three formats. While already captaining the shortest format, his appointment ended the breaks of Gulbadin Naib, who was named ODI captain himself shortly before the World Cup, and Rahmat Shah, who never officially led them in a friendly. But Rashid said he had not been surprised by his appointment.
“I was not surprised. I’ve already been the vice-captain, which means you’re the next captain. Mentally, I was ready for it, “he said. “Yes, it has gone very fast, but when it comes to the national team, when it comes to the country, you must always be ready to lead. I will do my best to be as good as possible. “