Not easy to play in big events like World Cup, says Afghanistan batsman Shahidi

"We are not the team anymore which just participates (in tournaments) for the sake of it," added Hashmatullah Shahidi.

Hashmatullah Shahidi had a memorable outing in the lone Test against Ireland.   -  Getty Images

Afghanistan top-order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi had a memorable outing in the lone Test against Ireland in Dehradun. In the first innings, he played a knock of 61 and stitched a crucial partnership with Rahmat Shah. But, that’s not all. He sealed Afghanistan’s win in the second innings with a boundary as well.

The 24-year-old spoke to Sportstar after the day’s play.

You built a crucial partnership with Rahmat Shah in the first innings and then scored the winning runs in the second innings. How’s the feeling?

We all are very excited and happy that we bagged the first Test victory. It is a big achievement for us.

We worked hard for this Test and all the players are happy that things have gone well. Back home in Afghanistan, people are happy and proud of our achievement.

Tell us about your partnership with Rahmat.

Ireland scored 172 in the first innings, and it was a slow track. The ball was coming slow on to the bat and it was not easy to score runs. Our target was to build a partnership and do something well in the top-order, so he told me to take time and wait for the loose ball.

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Rahmat told me to stick around since it was an important match. That’s the only thing we did. After that, our captain Asghar Afghan played a good knock (of 67). The 42-run lead put them (Ireland) under pressure.

Afghanistan suffered an innings defeat in its first Test against India last year. What did that defeat teach the Afghan players?

Before that Test, I had played first-class cricket but of course, the bowler [sic] was different. The opponent was far more experienced than us, and I learned a lot of things from that Test.

The most important thing was that to be a better player, you need to work hard and stick around for long. I had made some mistakes in my batting, which I needed to work on.

What were those mistakes?

The most important thing was that I never played against a Test-playing team before, so it added to the pressure.

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How to adjust yourself in pressure situations and how to face bowlers were some of the things I learned. Also, I realised how to bring an overall improvement to your game. That way, I have been trying to overcome my weaknesses.

With World Cup nearing, what are Afghanistan’s chances?

We are not the team anymore which just participates for the sake of it. We can do well, but it’s not easy to play in big events like the World Cup.

But still, we have the ability to do well. We should play to our strengths and work hard in the three months’ time that we have. We need to believe in our talent as well.

Only putting in hard work won’t help, you also need confidence.