Zimbabwe tour was a useful experience: Stanikzai
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai said on Tuesday the successful trip to Zimbabwe was a new and effective experience for them and they learned a lot from it.
Afghanistan, an associate member, defeated Zimbabwe, a Test-playing nation, in both ODI and Twenty20 series, making a history and breaking a 20-year-old record.
Skipper Stanikzai in an exclusive chat with Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines of the launch of Shpageeza, the biggest domestic annual cricket tournament, said they played against Zimbabwe fully prepared.
He said they reached Zimbabwe before the formal matches and played practice games and underwent other trainings to become familiar with weather conditions and grounds, something that helped them a lot.
About their defeat in the first ODI, he said, the side came under pressure and Zimbabwe eventually won that match.
After the first game, experts and viewers predicted that Afghanistan being weak would loss the remaining four matches as well.
“I took the charge after the first game and made a plan for the remaining games and the plan proved effective and we won.”
He thanked batting coach Inzamamul Haq, a former Pakistani skipper and legendary batsman, for his cooperation and complete support.
As part of the planning, Stanikzai said, former captain Mohammad Nabi Essakhel was promoted to the top order and that worked. Nabi scored his first international hundred as well, hailing him as a professional player in their team.
“There was a clear change in Essakhel’s performance after he completed the century because he performed very well in follow up matches,” he said.
Stanikzai said Afghan batsmen could perform well on Zimbabwe grounds and it why they gave chance to Rashid Khan instead of Shahpoor Zadran in next matches, a decision that proved right.
He said they made a big change in the final match and chose Gulbadin Naib to bat at three.
The selection of Naib to bat at No. 3 also proven a right decision because he not only showed good performance but also secured more than 50 runs for Afghanistan and led his team to victory, Stanikizai said.
He added the new coach Inzamam also tried a lot in training them. “Before we started the matches, our coach would hold two meetings with players and would share his special plan for each match,” he said.
Inzamamul Haq would also hold meetings after every match to point out players’ mistakes during their performance, Stanikzai added, saying that the coach also helped the players to be psychologically prepared for a match.
Stanikzai became Afghanistan captain few months ago and under his leadership, the Afghan team achieved its big victory for the first time.
“I feel very fortunate that our team has achieved this high level victory under my leadership, but all members of the team had equally contributed to the achievement,” he said.
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