Mumbai, Nov 6: India legend and ICC Global Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar addressed the history-making Afghanistan cricketers ahead of their crucial 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 clash against Australia.
Afghanistan’s dream run in the ongoing CWC sees them placed at sixth with eight points, and with their fate in their own hands with regard to what would be a historic feat in qualifying for the semifinals.
Having won just a solitary game in their Cricket World Cup history before the start of this tournament, Afghanistan have produced remarkable performances in India this time around, winning four of their seven matches, three of them on the trot.
Providing inspiration for that unprecedented feat of making the semis was India legend Tendulkar, who addressed the group in Mumbai on Monday.
“It is a special moment for each and everyone,” Rashid told cricketworldcup.com about Tendulkar addressing the Afghanistan team as published in ICC portal.
“Meeting him on a very special occasion here in one Wankhede, I think it’s a different feeling. And definitely it’s given lots of positive energy to the guys, to the team. It’s a kind of dream for lots of players to meet him.”
He went on to thank Tendulkar for meeting the team ahead of their crux game against Australia.
“I just want to say thank you so much for coming here. I know lots of people start cricket watching you and you are a role model for everyone back home in Afghanistan.
“So on behalf of the whole of Afghanistan, massive thank you for coming here, spending this very important time with us. I’m pretty sure this will give these guys lots of energy, lots of positive things. And meeting you was a dream of everyone.”
Afghanistan face Australia tomorrow and then take on South Africa in Ahmedabad on Friday.
They began the tournament in ordinary fashion, losing to Bangladesh and India in back-to-back clashes, but they bounced back strongly to beat England by 69 runs.
From the highs of that win, the Hashmatullah Shahidi-led side leapt further, comprehensively beating Pakistan and Sri Lanka in run-chases, showcasing a different dimension to their game.
Their latest win over the Netherlands in Lucknow marked their third consecutive victory in the tournament.
The key to Afghanistan’s impressive showing has been the contribution from multiple players. Each of the seven bowlers to have bowled for them in the 2023 World Cup has more than five wickets to their name.
In the batting group, skipper Shahidi and senior batter Rahmat Shah have stood out with three half-centuries apiece. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and the talented Azmatullah Omarzai, who came in for special praise from Tendulkar on social media during the tournament, have two each.
Ibrahim Zadran and Ikram Ali Khil have also stepped up with the bat. The opening partnerships between Gurbaz and Zadran have been crucial for Afghanistan, but importantly the middle-order has also stepped up in difficult times.
With Tendulkar’s inspiring words ringing in their ears, can Afghanistan strike their most surprising blow yet with victory against Australia on Tuesday? (UNI)