Hall of Famer
- Sep 27, 2014
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Renegades, NY Rangers, West Ham
Starts 12:30am AEDT. All three games in Lucknow, India.
Afghanistan must be hurting. Playing hosts to West Indies in their adopted home in India, their ODI campaign went so badly that the team's losing streak in the format extended to 12 by the end of the series. There's a mismatch in the philosophy of their batting (defensive) and bowling (attacking) units, and that gulf appears to have become deeper after the recent integration of a few young batsmen in the squad.
But T20Is are Afghanistan's best format. With a stockpile of mystery spinners and a batting unit that goes deep (if not always big) Afghanistan have made oppositions, especially when in the subcontinent, wary.
There's only one problem, though: they appear to have forgotten the art of winning.
Last month, they shared the tri-nation T20I series trophy in Bangladesh because of a washed-out final. Prior to the title clash, they had lost two in a row, to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
T20I defeats used to be rare for Afghanistan, back-to-back losses even more, but the only team since 2017 to hand them that fate in a bilateral series are West Indies.
Although the West Indies side that blanked Afghanistan 3-0 in 2017 is vastly different from the squad that is touring India currently, there are a few similarities. The side is rejuvenated under a new captain - Kieron Pollard - and the influx of a new set of cricketers after the latest Caribbean Premier League season gives them an opportunity to blindside Afghanistan since they have seen very little of these players.
What used to be Afghanistan's advantage earlier has now shifted away from them, and if the visitors can negate the spin threat Afghanistan possess, there's no reason why West Indies cannot top Afghanistan in the T20I series too.
There are plenty of youngsters in both squads, and with the T20 World Cup only 12 months away, expect a few new faces in the XIs. West Indies, however, will be without Nicholas Pooran, who was handed a four-match ban for ball tampering in the ODI series.
Afghanistan (possible): 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Ibrahim Zadran, 3 Javed Ahmadi, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Asghar Afghan, 6 Gulbadin Naib, 7 Rashid Khan (capt), 8 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Sayed Shirzad, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
West Indies (possible): 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Brandon King, 4 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 5 Sherfane Rutherford, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Jason Holder, 8 Khary Pierre, 9 Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Sheldon Cottrell