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ASHRAF PINPOINTS BOWLING AS KEY AGAINST BANGLADESH

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Seamer Mirwais Ashraf has said that Afghanistan's attack will have a key role to play in the upcoming three-ODI series in Bangladesh. The bowlers, led by offspinning allrounder Mohammad Nabi, who claimed 4 for 24, tuned up by dismissing BCB XI for 167 to take a low-scorer.

Nabi was assisted by 18-year-old-legspinner Rashid Khan and left-arm seamer Fareed Ahmed, who picked up two wickets each. Fareed's new-ball partner Karim Janant, uncapped at international level, also chipped in with a wicket, helping the visitors defend 233.

"This was a great preparation for us after spending the last 20 days training in India," Ashraf said. "We played positive cricket and gave Bangladesh a tough time. Afghanistan's bowling is a key area. It has legspin, left-arm spin, offbreak bowlers and the pace attack. The upcoming matches will be tough.

"Fareed and Janat are young and talented seam bowlers. They came from the U19s, and have the ability to swing the ball both ways. They deserve to be in the national team."

Ashraf himself contributed to the victory, his late cameo - an unbeaten 32 off 19 balls - first lifted the side past 200. He then bowled three tidy overs with his medium-pace.

"I just play for the team, what they require from me," he said. I try to play according to the condition. Variation is important since the pitch wasn't suiting pace bowling."

BCB XI's top-scorer Mosaddek Hossain, who was named in the Bangladesh squad on Thursday, said that Rashid would pose a threat in the ODIs.

"Rashid bowled accurately and had a lot of variations," he said. I think he was harder to play than the other legspinner. He bowls the googly really well and can stick to bowling at one spot."

Mosaddek, who struck five fours and three sixes during his 76, however, drew confidence from reading the conditions well and hoped to justify his call-up to the national squad.

"Reading the wicket was more important to me today," he said. "It was a tough wicket, kept low and there was turn. I think reading the wicket correctly was a big deal to me. A player has more self-belief when he has been selected to play for the country. I am in this mindset, that I have to prove why I am in the national team. I tried to bat till the end but unfortunately, I couldn't manage it.

"Batting against them [Afghanistan] today has given me some confidence. I don't think anything more will happen than what happened today. I think I will make use of any opportunity that comes in front of me."


Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.



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