Men's ODI WC: Afghanistan coach Trott regrets missed opportunities, says future of team looks bright
Ahmedabad, Nov 10 : After Afghanistan ended their campaign in the IFF Men's ODI World Cup 2023 with a five-wicket defeat to South Africa, chief coach Jonathan Trott said they will leave the event with mixed feelings, happiness over four wins and regret over a few missed opportunities. He, however, said their performance showed that the players have a bright future ahead.
Afghanistan stunned defending champions England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and also got the better of the Netherlands for their four wins in the ICC ODI World Cup.
One of the missed opportunities for them was the6 wickets defeat to Bangladesh in their opening match and Trott said that "there were a few other games" that they could have perhaps won. That would include the match against five-time World Champions Australia in which Afghanistan had reduced Pat Cummin's side to 91/7 before Glenn Maxwell hammered an unbeaten double-century to help Australia win the match.
"There are, obviously, a few things. I think we set out, we arrived on the shores and you know pretty ambitious and if you'd said we won four games you probably would have taken it you know - Especially after losing the first game against Bangladesh, which we probably would have seen as a sort of must-win or a very much winnable game. So, after that, I'd certainly have taken it, but it's still a case of sitting here today thinking there are a few other games that we left out there that we could have perhaps won," said Trott during the post-match press conference on Friday.
The English coach said he saw some improvements in his players and squad during this World Cup.
"So as a coach and as a member of the team, we're disappointed with that, but you can't have everything. You can't win always. But I see some good improvement. I see a lot of confidence in players and their ability.
"I had confidence in the players, but sometimes until somebody does it or they do it themselves, you're never quite sure. So that's always a challenge for a developing team or a developing player or nation until they get across the line," he added.
"And I've said numerous times before the tournament that we just need to win a couple of games to get that belief and the buzz around the side and sort of a spring in the step because there'd been so many times, we'd got so close and found a way just to lose. So, I'm pleased with that. We've won games and found ways to win games," Trott said.
He said the team showed a lot of all-round responsibilities in the World Cup. Afghanistan were expected to rely on their bowlers to trouble the opponents but in the World Cup, batters like Ibrahim Zadran (376), Azmat Omarzai (353), Rahmat Shah (320) and Hashmat Shahidi (310) did well with the bat for them. On the bowling front, seasoned spinner Rashid Khan excelled with 11 wickets.
"Normally, with the side, you'd say bowling would be the strength. So, you'd try and put the pressure on the bowlers -- but to be able to knock off targets in a pretty comfortable fashion and responsible fashion makes it certainly shows that we're not sort of one-way inclined to win cricket games. We can win in various ways," he said.
Asked what should be the next step in the progression of Afghanistan is to have a squad with a bigger pool of players.
"I think the next progression is to have more of a squad with regards to more players. We've seen Noor come in, or Fazalhaq Farooqi come in. And so, it's for the first time really been able to sort of select a side depending on the conditions whereas before you'd normally have 11 and if you had one injury you'd sort of - but you're seeing now that the emergence of the players, the experience of franchise cricket and becoming very, very good players.
"So, there's certainly a bigger pool I think than in the past to be able to select from, or certainly experienced players or well-known names to be able to call upon, like Naveen [ul-Haq] coming in and playing ODI cricket, and we saw the impact he very nearly got us a win against Australia with all the wickets in the new ball.
Trott said he sees a bright future for Afghanistan and said their job now will be to nurture the players.
"So, the future's bright, it's our job as a side and us as management coaches to make sure we nurture that and make sure that we're going in the right direction," he said.