Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai is happy to play against a Test-playing nation and said they will try to capitalise the opportunity.
The visiting skipper shared his thoughts during a press conference in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
This is the first bilateral series between the Tigers and the Afghans and Stanikzai thanked Bangladesh for providing them the chance to contest the three-ODI series.
The 29-year old remembered their famous 32-run win against the Tigers in the 2014 Asia Cup. But Stanikzai thinks Bangladesh are a more tougher opponent now while he is also of the opinion that the Afghans have gained a lot of experience in the last two years.
“Our expectation from our team is to give our best. Two years ago, we remember that we beat Bangladesh. Our team have played more cricket against Test-playing nations. We were less experienced back then but now we have also played World Cup and the Asia Cup. I hope my team will play better than last time,” Stanikzai told the media.
He admitted that they will start as underdogs against a Test-playing nation like Bangladesh. But he confirmed that they will play for a win.
He also demanded more matches against the Test nations in the future.
“Everybody is coming here for a win. We will try our best against the Full Member nations. We will get a lot of experience playing against them, and we want to play a lot of matches against these Full Member nations,” he added.
Experienced all-rounder Mohammad Nabi batted at No 9 in their sole practice match and Stanikzai stated that the conditions will dictate the position where the former will come out to bat.
“It was a practice match and we have played some more in India as well. Most of the players had opportunity in these matches, so we tried to provide batting chances to those players who didn’t get that in the previous matches. We will look at the conditions and situations before deciding where Nabi will bat,” said Stanikzai.
On the other hand, Afghanistan coach Lalchand Rajput said their 66-run victory against the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in the practice match on Friday will boost their confidence level.
He hoped their bowling unit will produce the same result against the experienced Bangladesh batting line-up.
“We have a very well-balanced team. We have good medium-pacers and spinners, who will get assistance in Bangladesh. We have a young guy who just came from the U19s. He really impressed us in the camp in India. We have experience and youth. It will be great if the boys can perform in such a platform,” said Rajput.
There are two leg-spinners - Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah - in the Afghan squad. They performed impressively against several teams in the recent past. But Rajput said the spinners will be tested against Bangladesh as the Tigers batsmen are good against spin bowling.
“We have seen in other tournaments that leg-spin plays an important part. We have two very good leg-spinners, so hopefully we will see how they do against players who do well against spin. We have got the ammunition so let’s see if they can surprise the Bangladesh batsmen,” he added.