Williamson praises Afghanistan''s growing bowling prowess

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Providence (Guyana), Jun 7 (PTI) New Zealand captain Kane Williamson feels Afghanistan possess "one of the better bowling attacks" in the T20 World Cup adding that their performance is only improving with the growing experience at the international stage.

The Black Caps begin their campaign against Afghanistan, whom they have played only once before in this format.

"Certainly a number of players in their side... I mean, all of the players, to be honest, they have such a skillful team, one of the better bowling attacks, I think, in the competition," Williamson said in the pre-match press conference.

Afghanistan boast of an arsenal of high-class spinners including skipper Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad.

Williamson has shared the dressing room with star leg-spinner Rashid, inarguably the best T20 spinner in the world.

"And we've seen that in franchise competitions, the involvement, the number of Afghani players. And they're getting better and better," Williamson said.

"They're getting more and more (exposure to) top-level cricket. And we saw that at the last World Cup, how strong they were in the ODI format too. So, a highly skilled team that can pose a number of threats." "Obviously, Rashid's been around for a while now, although still a young man, but an extremely gifted world-class player," The like of pacers Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi have also proved their worth in recent times.

"But there are a number of other players in their side throughout, really, that make them an exciting team and a real challenge." Williamson himself heads to the World Cup on the back of little match practice as he spent most of the time warming the bench for Gujarat Titans in the IPL this season.

"Yeah. I mean, it's just the nature of the beast. I've been involved in a few IPLs now and sometimes play more, sometimes play less. And the balance of overseas players (4 allowed in XI) has a lot to do with that.

"But when you are on the road playing a lot, you know, sometimes it's hard to get those windows. But equally, you know, there's cricket coming up, which is the World Cup. So, it's trying to put time into moving your game forward because there's so many opportunities over there." The World Cup is being played across various venues but Williamson is confident of New Zealand's ability to adapt to the conditions.

"The different venues, I think, provide different challenges and different areas to target. So as a team, it's just trying to be smart with that. [We] approach it with a well-balanced squad so you can try and use the resource that's required really.

"As a team, it comes back to the focus that we have on our game and how we want to skin it, I suppose, which can look different every day. But that commitment to those roles is important.” PTI APA KHS