By CricketCountry Staff
Sharjah: Feb 10, 2012
Afghanistan suffered a blow on the eve of their historic ODI match against Pakistan after fast bowler Hamid Hasan was ruled out after failing to recover from a knee injury.
But captain Nowroz Mangal is still confident his team will put up a strong fight against the likes of Pakistan spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.
"It's a very good challenge for us," said Mangal, who has played all of Afghanistan's 18 ODIs against associate and affiliate teams. "All the players are excited and waiting anxiously to play against the best side in the world.
"We are not targeting ting any specific individuals, we are here to play the game not the names. We have done our homework and we will try our best to execute our plans accordingly and achieve the desired results."
Afghanistan warmed up by playing a limited-overs series against Pakistan's north western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Kabul last month, winning 3-1.
Interim Afghanistan coach Iqbal Sikander, who played in Pakistan's 1992 World Cup-winning squad, rated Afghanistan among the top three affiliate teams in the world.
"They lacked experience before but they have played so much cricket that they are now ready for this level of cricket, and this team on their day can give any team a tough time," Sikander said.