At Sunrisers, Farooqi has had an opportunity to work with Dale Steyn, the bowling consultant. He had also spoken glowingly of his interactions with India quick Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“Bowling has always been good for us, but if you look at our side, the fast bowling department was struggling earlier, but we have good bowlers now,” Rashid said after Afghanistan’s training session on Thursday. “Someone like Fazalhaq Farooqi has had the experience of playing in the IPL.
“The exposure he got there [with Sunrisers Hyderabad] has been massive. We also have Naveen-ul-Haq, who is playing all around the world. This is a massive sign for us. The focus is on getting better with each game and if we get a strong start, then when the spinners come on in the middle, it becomes easier.”
“We’ve focused on fast bowling and getting better in that area. We are ready for any team, and not just India or Pakistan. Our focus is the same, and we train with the same mindset and intensity for every opponent.”
On a slow Sharjah deck where the ball wasn’t coming on, Najibullah Zadran, who walked in to bat at No. 5, helped turn around their chase in style. In a game where no other batter hit more than one six, Najibullah who came into bat at No. 5, smashed six sixes in just 17 deliveries to turn around a tough chase into a cruise. From needing 63 off 36, Afghanistan won with nine balls to spare, with Najibullah unbeaten on 43 off just 17 balls.
“The way the boys have performed, the way they have adjusted and taken the responsibility upon themselves has been great to see,” Rashid said. “In the Super 4s too, our focus is on playing the same brand of aggressive cricket, but also learn from the mistakes we made and not repeat it.”
Ahead of the Super 4s opener against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Rashid had a note of caution for his team. He cautioned them against complacency, while also hoping players would continue to try and gain an edge over the opponents by giving “something more” at training.
“We have all played a lot of cricket here,” he said. “It’s not like only Afghanistan have that advantage [of conditions]. Everyone is aware of the conditions and wickets you get here. It’s not like the others have come in from Europe. So we have to try and do something more to prepare well. What is in our control is to work hard, train with intensity and give 100% in training and treat every game with same focus.
“We’ve worked really hard. The focus is on taking responsibility as a group. We’ve focused on fast bowling and getting better in that area. We are ready for any team, and not just India or Pakistan. Our focus is the same, and we train with the same mindset and intensity for every opponent.”