Defending champions England will face energetic Afghanistan, who surprised everyone by their feat against India at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today.
England captain Stuart Broad seemed positive about his team’s prospects in the opening match after winning warm-ups against Australia and Pakistan. He also refused to underestimate their fiery opponents’ ability to turn around the match.
“They look a talented side as well,” said Broad of Afghanistan. “Anyone who would have watched their match against India will know the dangers they bring. They also batted fantastically well against Sri Lanka A earlier in the week. So we know they are going to be a dangerous side.
“But it’s important as an England team that we don’t focus too much on that and we really look at ourselves and make sure we get our disciplines right.”
The right-arm seam bowler insisted that the absence of former captain Kevin Pietersen, under whom England won the title last time, will not affect his team’s performance.
“Pietersen has done fantastically well for us. We have to put up with that and get on with it. The 15 guys who are in the squad are excited to be here, up for the challenge and that’s what you want coming into a tournament.”
Afghanistan, meanwhile, are relatively unfazed by the daunting prospect of facing champions England.
“England is a totally different team compared to India,” said Kabir Khan, the Afghanistan coach. “They are ‘conditional’ bowlers, they bowl very well in England but they struggle outside home and they have obviously struggled in Asia. We are going to exploit that weakness.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.
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