Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib has reminded Pakistan of the threat posed by leg-spinner Rashid Khan ahead of their World Cup meeting on Saturday.
Khan, third in the One-day international bowling rankings, has taken just four wickets at the tournament so far. He returned humiliating figures of 0/110 in his nine overs against England – the worst in the competition’s history.
But Naib gave a reminder of the threat posed by the 20-year-old, whose tally of 129 ODI wickets since the end of the 2015 World Cup is bettered only by England’s Adil Rashid.
“Pakistan are a strong team and played spin very well in their last two games,” Naib said. “But Rashid is a different spinner, he’s very different to other leg-spinners. It’s very difficult to pick him.
“In this World Cup I don’t think he’s been at his best but he’s given everything in terms of effort. On his day, it’s very difficult for any team to deal with him. If it is a Rashid day, it’s very difficult for anyone,” added the skipper, who will be desperate for a win against Pakistan after seven defeats in seven matches.
Pakistan have shown their prowess against the turning ball in successive victories over South Africa and New Zealand that have revitalised their chances of reaching the semi-finals. Khan’s spin twin Mujeeb Ur Rahman impressed against India and Bangladesh.
Naib revealed the 18-year-old was left out of the team to face South Africa and New Zealand due to concerns over the fluency of his bowling action but is delighted by his recent displays.
“We were worried about Mujeeb’s action in the first couple of games,” he explained.
“He was missing something. He went away with our coach and video analyst to work on it and he has his form and rhythm back now.”