T20 World Cup: To bring joy back home, Mohammad Nabi's Afghanistan look up to cricket
Afghanistan's captain Mohammad Nabi is hoping for his team's success in the T20 World Cup and bring smiles on the faces of their fans back home, where cricket remains one of few sources of "happiness" following the country's takeover by Taliban.
Owing to the upheaval there after the radical organisation assumed power in August, the national cricket team's preparation for the T20 showpiece left a lot to be desired.
"It's not that ideal," Nabi told reporters on Sunday, a day ahead of their opening Super 12 match against Scotland here.
"Everyone knows that back home in Afghanistan, there's a lot happening from the last few months. But, from a cricket point of view, everybody is ready and prepared well for this World Cup."
Nabi, who forms a fine spin triumvirate alongside Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, added, "There were little issues when we arrived in Dubai, but these last two warm-up games and practice sessions prepared the team well.
"The fans are really waiting because the only happiness in Afghanistan is cricket. If we do well in the tournament and win games, the fans will be really happy and there will be a lot of smiles on faces."
Nabi insisted that he will try his best to get his team to play as a unit.
"Just at the last moment, I was made the captain. I will try my best to bring my team (together) as a unit. We will try our best and are doing that from the last one and a half weeks. We know each other very well from last few years."
He also said that his players are familiar with the conditions in the UAE having played there quite often in recent years.
"We have played a lot of cricket in the UAE and we know the conditions, like how it's worked and every player knows that as well. Insha Allah, we'll do our best"," said Nabi during the pre-match press conference.
Nabi said he was pleased to see Scotland and Namibia qualifying for the Super 12 stage of the tournament. Afghanistan, who have made a lot of progress in recent years, were a direct entrant into the Super 12s.
"It's really tough. In the qualifying round, most of the time, we were doing it. It's really tough to qualify for the next round. I'm really happy about the performances of Namibia and Scotland. They did really well in the tournament and are now in our group. We are really happy to play the Super 12 here."
(With PTI inputs)