St Lucia: The upset that they were looking for didn’t happen but instead of brooding over it Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal says his players are overwhelmed with joy after playing against a strong team like India in the Twenty20 World Cup here.
“Yesterday (Friday) when we were here practising and we heard our national anthem, we were very happy. When the game started this morning it was a huge honour for us,” Mangal said after the seven-wicket loss to India in their opening match of the event.
“India is one of the best teams in the world. We were very happy to play our first match against them. Early in the morning the wicket was difficult for us but it was a good experience for our guys,” he added.
The unheralded Afghans were rattled by pace yesterday but still managed to put on a spirited batting performance, the highlight of which was Noor Ali’s half century.
Coach Kabir Khan said the pace that his batsmen faced was something they had never encountered before.
“So far they haven’t played fast bowlers of that pace, which normally they would have trouble with,” Khan said.
Khan hoped that more top-class teams would play against his side from now on to help find a foothold in international cricket.
“I hope after the World Cup we play against good sides so they get used to it,” said Khan.
Khan revealed that Afghan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad is a huge fan of his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“Our boys follow India and Pakistan, our wicketkeeper is known as MS and he is a great fan of Dhoni. I think it would have been the best day of his life to play against him. He would have loved to have impressed him too,” he said.