Alex Hales has warned England to not underestimate Afghanistan of their opening T20 World Cup fixture on Saturday, saying the mix of their highly effective batting and the spin of Rashid Khan, ranked No 2 on the earth within the format by the ICC, makes them one of the crucial troublesome opponents they’ll face.
“They’re a harmful facet,” he mentioned. “Any workforce on this World Cup is harmful however notably Afghanistan. They’ve acquired some explosive batters, guys who actually tee off from ball one, so it’s going to be a tricky sport. They’re a workforce that’s bettering quickly and have some skilful operators, they usually have two of the perfect spinners on the earth in Rashid and Mujeeb [Ur Rahman].”
Rashid ranks third on the all-time record of T20 worldwide wicket-takers with 118, regardless of having performed simply 71 matches, fewer than another member of the highest 10, and is a former teammate of Hales at Trent Rockets.
“He has acquired the power to spin the ball each methods at first rate tempo, he’s very troublesome to get down the pitch to, and he’s a world-class fielder and batter as effectively,” Hales mentioned. “He’s a full T20 participant.
“I feel plenty of the blokes have performed an terrible lot of cricket in opposition to him now. He’s been round a very long time and our guys are very skilled. Clearly he’s a world-class operator however I consider all of the grounds to play him at, Perth might be one of many friendlier ones as a batter.”
Hales has actually loved his earlier visits right here: his 84 in opposition to Australia within the first sport of the latest T20 collection introduced his common at Perth Stadium to 48.75, and of the 34 grounds he has performed at greater than twice he has the next common at just one, in Chittagong.
“It’s a floor the place you may create angles shifting across the crease and use the tempo and bounce to your benefit,” he mentioned. “I’m fairly certain it is going to be a high-scoring sport and a few good batting situations.”
Hales described Tymal Mills, who joined the squad this week after Reece Topley’s freak ankle harm dominated him out of the competitors, as “an enormous asset”, however mentioned the squad had been affected by Topley’s exit.
“It’s massively disappointing for him, particularly a man who has put a lot work into his health and cricket for the previous couple of years. It’s a very bitter, disappointing capsule to swallow,” Hales mentioned. “It’s a blow, and his type coming into this match has been actually good, however now we have acquired guys hopefully who can step in and fill these boots.”
Though Sri Lanka got here by way of their qualifying group regardless of struggling a devastating defeat of their opening sport, Hales believes it is important for England to get their match off to a constructive begin.
“With this being solely 5 video games, you must get off to a great begin,” he mentioned. “It’s actually necessary that you just discover early momentum and try to maintain going with that so long as you may. In T20 franchise stuff you need to peak on the again finish of the match, however right here it’s going to be from ball one.”