Ricky Ponting Anticipates Big Things from Afghanistan

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has lauded Afghanistan’s impressive run to the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, emphasizing that it marks the beginning of a remarkable journey for the team.

“It’s hard for an outsider to try and explain just how big it is for them,” Ponting said, courtesy of DP World. “They stood up under the biggest pressure, the biggest moments, the biggest teams at this World Cup, and thoroughly deserved their place in the semi-final. It’s an epic journey. I’m sure it’s just the beginning of bigger things to come for Afghanistan.”

Ponting praised the leadership of skipper Rashid Khan and highlighted the contributions of bowlers Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi. He also singled out Rahmanullah Gurbaz as a standout star but was particularly impressed with how the team operated as a cohesive unit and adapted to various match situations.

“They’ve been really smart – they’ve identified conditions early,” Ponting added. “They’ve held the keys, their opening batters and their opening bowlers right throughout this tournament. If they can find another couple of middle-order batters over the next few years, they’ll have a very good side.”

Ponting also noted the inspiration that Afghanistan’s performance can provide to other associate nations participating in this year’s expanded tournament.

“Ten years ago, that was Afghanistan. Fifteen years ago, that was Bangladesh. Twenty-five years ago, that was Sri Lanka. And look at where they are now. You really have to start somewhere. You hope that when they go back home, they’ve learnt a lot from their experiences here.”

Afghanistan’s journey in the T20 World Cup has not only showcased their talent but also highlighted the potential for growth and success in international cricket. Ponting’s comments underscore the significance of their achievements and the bright future that lies ahead for Afghan cricket.

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