India’s Ashwin says Afghanistan is the ‘dark horse’ in upcoming World Cup

Veteran Indian bowler Ravichandran Ashwin said this week that Afghanistan has a significant chance of doing well at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

Speaking on his YouTube channel “Ashwin”, he referred to Afghanistan being a “dark horse” in the upcoming World Cup and a “very dangerous team if the conditions” suit them.

Ashwin predicted that Afghanistan could very well trump at least two top sides at the event and that if conditions are favorable, the Hashmatullah Shahidi-led team will emerge as a force to be reckoned with.

“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.”

He pointed out that Afghanistan has a strong batting lineup in 50-over cricket and praised the likes of Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hashmatullah Shahidi.

“Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s IPL stint has taken him into a different league,” said Ashwin. “He scored a 145-odd in the second ODI [against Bangladesh]. 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.”

Ashwin also suggested that this time around, Afghanistan are one of the frontrunners among the Asian teams to qualify for 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.”

Afghanistan meanwhile on Tuesday lost the final game in the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh but clinched the series after winning the previous two matches.