ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 team guide: Afghanistan
Afghanistan will need plenty of magic to improve on their solitary win in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Can this team deliver?
Also read: Our ICC Cricket World Cup guide.
After a debut in the 2015 tournament, Afghanistan come into this Cricket World Cup as one of two sides that needed to qualify (alongside West Indies). Coached by former West Indies player Phil Simmons, Afghanistan will be looking to build on 2015's performance, where the debutants managed a win against Scotland in the group stage. Being the lowest-ranked team in this tournament might make that hard, but Afghanistan's trajectory in international cricket means it wouldn't be a major shock if the team can get a few scalps in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Can Afghanistan win the Cricket World Cup?
Winning the tournament or indeed getting out of the group stage seems unlikely this time around, but the team will be better for the experience of being there with the best players in the world. For Afghanistan to win the Cricket World Cup it would be like Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2015/16.
That said, the squad boasts some talented players. Mohammad Shahzad (first) and Mohammad Nabi (second) are the leading ODI runscorers in their nation's brief history. Both have experience on their side as well. Nabi is also the second-highest wicket-taker in ODIs for Afghanistan.
Top of that list is the team's undoubted star, Rashid Khan. Despite only being 20 years old, Khan is Afghanistan's leading wicket-taker in ODI and T20 cricket. He's also joint top in Test cricket, but with a small sample size of only two matches. His age means it's likely he'll build on those records for years to come. A leg spinner with a googly that has bamboozled many a batsman, Khan has been a regular fixture in the IPL since 2017 and also had stints in other T20 leagues across the world, including the Caribbean Premier League and Australia's Big Bash League.
With nine matches in the group stages, crowds will be wowed by Khan throughout the tournament. He is currently considered the best ODI all-rounder on Earth.
Everybody loves an underdog and this team is very much in that category. This tournament is too early in the country's ODI journey to be anything other than a learning experience, but it will be a good experience for the team and spectators around the world.
Explore our ICC Cricket World Cup guides
How to watch Afghanistan's Cricket World Cup matches
There are two options to watch Afghanistan in the Cricket World Cup: Foxtel and Kayo Sports. Thankfully, both of these live sports streaming services show all 48 World Cup matches, including replays. We've put together a detailed comparison of these experiences alongside plenty more additional information in our where to watch the Cricket World Cup guide.
Afghanistan Cricket World Cup squad
Afghanistan has an experienced if young squad that has been injury-free in the lead-up to the Cricket World Cup. Here is Afghanistan's 15-man squad.
|Player||Age||Caps||Position||Batting rank||Bowling rank||All-rounder rank|
|Gulbadin Naib (c)||28||55||All-rounder||>100||70||37|
|Rashid Khan (vc)||20||59||All-rounder||78||3||1|
|Mohammad Shahzad (wk)||31||82||Wicket-keeper-batsman||40||>100||>100|
|Mujeeb Ur Rahman Zadran||18||30||Bowler||>100||9||52|
|Noor Ali Zadran||31||48||Batsman||>100||>100||>100|
Afghanistan Cricket World Cup fixtures
Here are all of the fixtures for Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. This includes a guide on where to watch a live stream of Afghanistan's matches in Australia.
|Stage||Match||Date||Start time (AEST)||Team A||Team B||Venue||Where to watch|
|Group||4||Saturday 1 June||22:30||Afghanistan||Australia||County Ground||Kayo Sports, Foxtel, Channel Nine|
|Group||7||Tuesday 4 June||19:30||Afghanistan||Sri Lanka||Sophia Gardens||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||13||Saturday 8 June||22:30||Afghanistan||New Zealand||County Ground||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||21||Saturday 15 June||22:30||South Africa||Afghanistan||Sophia Gardens||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||24||Tuesday 18 June||19:30||England||Afghanistan||Old Trafford||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||28||Saturday 22 June||19:30||India||Afghanistan||The Rose Bowl||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||31||Monday 24 June||19:30||Bangladesh||Afghanistan||The Rose Bowl||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||36||Saturday 29 June||19:30||Pakistan||Afghanistan||Headingley||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Group||42||Thursday 4 July||19:30||Afghanistan||West Indies||Headingley||Kayo Sports, Foxtel|
|Semi-finals||SF 1||Tuesday 9 July||19:30||1st||4th||Old Trafford||Kayo Sports, Foxtel, Channel Nine|
|Semi-finals||SF 2||Thursday 11 July||19:30||2nd||3rd||Edgbaston||Kayo Sports, Foxtel, Channel Nine|
|Final||F||Sunday 14 July||19:30||Winner semi-final 1||Winner semi-final 2||Lord's||Kayo Sports, Foxtel, Channel Nine|
Afghanistan Cricket World Cup team news
Rashid Khan giving Glenn Maxwell plenty to think about
28.5.19 – Rashid Khan is in the forefront of Australia's minds for their opening match against Afghanistan, with Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell speaking about how tough it is to face the leg spinner. "He's very difficult. He is probably one of the more difficult ones I've played against... For me, I feel like I don't think I'm going to get out to him, but I don't feel like I'm going to score much off him." Maxwell's comments suggest Australia will be cautious when facing the Afghanistan superstar and look to score runs from other bowlers. Khan didn't play when the two sides met in the last World Cup, but he'll be integral to his team's chances this time around.
Image source: Kayo Sports