Real Afghanistan need to stand up, says cricket coach

Friday, 20 February 2015 00:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Afghanistan players celebrate the wicket of Anamul Haque even as he asks for a review, Afghanistan v Bangladesh, World Cup 2015, Group A, Canberra, 18 February     REUTERS: Afghanistan are at the World Cup to compete for victories and simply did not give a true account of themselves in their defeat to Bangladesh on their tournament debut, coach Andy Moles said on Wednesday. The thumping 105-run loss was a huge disappointment to the Afghans, whose meteoric rise to the top table of international cricket over the last 15 years has been a rare good news story from their war-torn country. After holding Bangladesh to a respectable 267 all out in their 50 overs at Manuka Oval, they lost their first three wickets for three runs in three overs and were finally bowled out for 162. “That isn’t a true reflection of how we play, but in any game of cricket when you’re three for three in one and a half overs, not many teams, if any teams come back from that,” Moles told a news conference in Canberra. “The boys are very proud in their performance, and they know that they haven’t given a fair reflection today. “We’re in the shop window here, we haven’t disgraced ourselves but we got lost, we just didn’t get out of the blocks tonight with the bat, we were in a fog,” he added. “They bowled very well and before we knew where we were, we were one-two-three down and just treading water.” Cricket was still the subject of a Taliban ban in Afghanistan when Bangladesh made their World Cup debut in 1999 but Moles said his team had approached the fixture against one of the 10 test-playing nations with high hopes. “We genuinely thought this was a game we could have won tonight,” he said. “I still believe that if we’d have applied ourselves better, we would have given a better account of ourselves. “Take nothing away from Bangladesh, they played very well but we didn’t hit the heights we expect of ourselves.” Asked whether nerves were responsible for the calamitous folding of the top order, Moles said he would be talking to the batsmen about their mental approach to the match. “I really don’t think they were up for the fight from ball one,” he said. Moles said his players needed to take the defeat “on the chin” and pick themselves up for their next match against Sri Lanka in Dunedin, New Zealand on Sunday. “We’re honestly here to compete in the games that we’ve got,” the Englishman added. “Sri Lanka will be a step up but you haven’t seen Afghanistan play yet.”