India vs Afghanistan T20 World Cup 2021: Hamid Hassan goes from part-time commentator to strike bowler against Virat Kohli’s side

Afghanistan paceman Hamid Hassan wouldn’t have dreamt that he would be leading his team’s charge in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 after last playing an T20 international back in 2016. Hassan, the 34-year-old, has had a stop-start T20I career but picked up 35 wickets in 23 matches at a sensational average of 15.2.

Come Wednesday (November 3), Hassan will lead the Afghanistan pace attack against Virat Kohli’s Team India in a T20 World Cup clash in Abu Dhabi. India, who have lost both their opening fixtures against Pakistan and New Zealand, will be wary of the Afghans. Hassan picked up 3/16 on his return to the Afghanistan T20 side after 5 years against Namibia and will look to cause more damage against India.

“Afghanistan is a very good side, we have some of the best spinners in the world in Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman. We have a complete squad this time around. The good thing is that most of the batsmen are in good form. I know if we can put good runs on the board, we can beat India with our batting and bowling,” Hassan said during a virtual press conference ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021 game against India.

The paceman, in fact, is one of the only players to have represented Afghanistan in their first-ever ICC event – the 2010 T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. “The 2010 edition in the Caribbean was the first-ever World Cup for us. I have such great memories of that tournament and it was a brilliant experience playing against teams like South Africa and India in that World Cup,” Hassan said.

The 6ft 5 fast bowler from Nangarhar, Afghanistan, in fact served as a TV commentator during Afghanistan series against Ireland in Dehradun a couple of years back. “I am a player with plenty of self-belief and never shy away from hard work. I juggled my training and recovery while doing my commentary duties – hitting the nets and gym as soon I got even a little time. Also I am not a professional coach but loved helping out the young boys whenever they needed me,” the Afghanistan paceman said.

Asked about the team’s preparation for the T20 World Cup amidst the turmoil after the Taliban takeover back home, Hassan said, “Both physically and mentally we are in very good condition. For us there are no issue – whether it’s training back home or in the UAE. We have faced no problems at all.”

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Sagar Biswas

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