Afghanistan will fear no one at the Cricket World Cup, claims Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan is not only a great spinner but also a confident man ahead of the World Cup. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Afghanistan will fear no one at the Cricket World Cup, claims Rashid Khan

  • Spin King Khan sends down warning ahead of ODI showpiece.
  • Boast comes just a day following Afghanistan's first Test win in just their second Test.

LONDON: Afghanistan will fear no one at the Cricket World Cup — that is the confident message from the side’s spin king Rashid Khan.
That warning comes just a day after Khan’s teammate Mohammad Nabi declared the side could beat any Test side after they recorded their first ever Test win — a seven-wicket victory against Ireland —  in just their second Test.
Before they can prove Nabi right, however, Afghanistan’s focus is purely on this summer’s ODI World Cup. At last year’s Asia Cup, Afghanistan made a breakthrough by topping their group in the 50-over competition ahead of established Test nations Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. And that has given Khan and Co. the confidence they can shock a few established teams in England.
“We have the talent and we have the skills,” the leg-spinner said. “How we played in the Asia Cup was totally different and we showed that we can beat any side,” said Khan, whose side even tied a match with heavyweights India in the last-four stage.
“The only thing is to believe in your skills. Just to be relaxed in big matches and enjoy your game,” he said.
“And that’s how we should be in the World Cup.”
Afghanistan only gained one-day international (ODI) status in 2009 and Test status in 2017, but their recent rise has coincided with Khan’s emergence as a world-class spinner. The 20-year-old tops the world Twenty20 bowling rankings and lies third in the 50-over standings.


Alex McLeish sacked as Scotland manager

Updated 18 April 2019
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Alex McLeish sacked as Scotland manager

  • McLeish was hired in February last year and led Scotland to the top of their Nations League group, securing the safety net of a playoff should they fail to qualify automatically for the Euros next year
  • However, qualifying got off to the worst possible start in Kazakhstan and an unconvincing 2-0 victory over San Marino three days later did little to further McLeish’s case to be kept on

LONDON: Alex McLeish’s second term as Scotland manager ended on Thursday as he was sacked following a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan to begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign last month.
“Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year — and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan — did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more,” Ian Maxwell, the Scottish FA’s chief executive, said in a statement.
McLeish was hired in February last year and led Scotland to the top of their Nations League group, securing the safety net of a playoff should they fail to qualify automatically for the Euros next year from a group containing Belgium and Russia.
However, qualifying got off to the worst possible start in Kazakhstan and an unconvincing 2-0 victory over San Marino three days later did little to further McLeish’s case to be kept on.
Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since 1998, but Hampden will host four matches at Euro 2020 and the SFA are hoping to reinvigorate the qualifying campaign under new management.
“We firmly believe we have the potential to recover from the opening group defeat and unlock the potential of this exciting squad of players for the remainder of the campaign, safe in the knowledge we also have the play-offs as an additional route to UEFA Euro 2020,” added Maxwell.
McLeish led Scotland to the brink of qualifying for Euro 2008 in his first spell in charge, missing out in the final qualifier at home to Italy before leaving for Birmingham.
His second stint managing the national team lasted just 12 games, winning five and losing seven.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have managed my country for a second time and leave knowing that I gave my all in the pursuit of success,” said McLeish.
“I am proud that together we finished top of our UEFA Nations League group and qualified for the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs, which gives us a real opportunity to reach a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years.”
The pressure is now on the SFA to make an appointment in time for Scotland’s next Euro qualifiers at home to Cyprus and away to Belgium in June.