Men's ODI WC: Our performance proves that gap with top teams has reduced, says Afghanistan captain Shahidi
Mumbai, Nov 6 : Afghanistan's brilliant performance in the ongoing ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023 is an indicator that the gap between them and the top teams has reduced, skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi admitted as his boys get ready to take on five-time World Champions Australia in a crucial match on Tuesday.
Afghanistan, who had won only one match in their first two appearances in the World Cups, have so far won four out of their eight matches in the 2023 edition, registering stunning wins against England, neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka, all three previous winners of the World Cup.
Their performance has put them in contention for a place in the semifinals as they are currently tied with New Zealand and Pakistan on eight points from four wins.
"We didn't have a good past in World Cup history. We only won one game. But coming to this World Cup, we believe that we can do better. And yeah, the gap which we had before, I think it's now like I feel we are equal to the teams which are in the top level. And we might be still learning, but talent-wise, we are a good team. I believe that yeah," Shahidi told the pre-match press conference on Monday.
Asked to give some reasons for his team's progress, Shahidi said it's due to the talent at his disposal.
"Yeah, it's a talent that we have in the team and also the hard work that we did in the recent past. And more importantly, we have belief. We have a belief that we can do, we can achieve. So that's the important thing in the team," said Shahidi, who has himself led from the front by hitting two half-centuries in the World Cup so far.
Asked about their clash with Australia, against whom they don't have a good record having lost all three matches so far, Shahidi said they have the belief that they will do well in the match.
"The belief is there. As I speak to the team, that in every game we go to the ground, we have to be positive and our mindset should be to win. It doesn't matter if the opposition team is Australia, England, India, or Netherlands, whatever.
"So, our mindset should be positive and we will go to ground for a winning mindset. So that remains the same. And tomorrow we will come to the ground with a positive approach and positive mindset. And we will try our best to do and play good cricket as a side you know," Shahidi said.
He reiterated that belief, hard work and talent led to the change in the fortunes of Afghanistan.
"Belief, hard work, and talent. These are the three main points that we have in the team. In the beginning, we had the belief, but for that, we have to win. So, when we won against England, the belief rate became higher, higher than after Pakistan. And we are now not looking back. We are moving forward, looking forward, and we are trying our best to improve as a team, match by match," he added.