India vs Afghanistan: Afghans can cause upset, says batting coach Patwal
Mumbai-based Patwal, who has played club cricket in the city, likened the Afghan players' attitude to Mumbai's khadoos army
Although World No. 1 India are firm favourites for their one-off Test battle against newcomers Afghanistan which will get underway in Bangalore today, Umesh Patwal, the batting coach of Ashgar Stanikzai's team, has warned the hosts that the historic occasion could turn out to be the greatest upset ever. "We don't just play for the sake of it, we play to win. We want to create history by not just playing but winning this historical Test. It is a big challenge for us," Patwal told mid-day over the phone from Bangalore.
Mumbai-based Patwal, who has played club cricket in the city, likened the Afghan players' attitude to Mumbai's khadoos army. "The emphasis is on passion and winning the game. You can call it khadoos attitude. They [Afghanistan] play more attacking cricket," said Patwal, who was Afghanistan's first batting coach when they played in the 2011 World Cup qualifiers in Sri Lanka.
When asked how it feels to guide a team against his own nation, Patwal stressed: "It's about being professional right now." Patwal said Afghanistan have played a good number of four-day games in ICC's Intercontinental Cup (which they have won twice) in their pursuit to be eligible for a Test status. "It's obviously historic as now onwards, we will be called a Test nation. We are trying to keep them [the players] calm. There is no fear about playing a Test match... there is a lot of excitement in the camp," he said.
Though Afghanistan boasts of a strong bowling unit, Patwal felt their batsmen too can cause trouble for India. "Javed Ahmadi [opener], Ihsan [Ihsanullah Janat], Ahmad Shirzad, Afsar Zazai, [Mohammed] Shahzad and the captain himself Stanikzai are all good batsmen and it will be a good contest," he signed off.
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