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Preview, 1st ODI: Afghanistan take on West Indies in the first of the three ODIs that begin today at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket stadium. This is Afghanistan cricket team's adopted home and they would hope for some support in Lucknow. The stadium, which also goes by the name Ekana, is a new one and has seen only one T20I taking place here between India and West Indies in 2018. The first ODI of this series will also be the first for the Ekana stadium. This also means that nature of the track will be unknown to both sides.
Windies captain Kieron Pollard has already said that his team will need to be careful of Afghanistan spinners as they are world class. He said, "Rashid Khan is a world-class bowler. It was seen by all of us and all around the world. Again there is no secret about it. Nabi himself has been doing well, he is a classical off-spinner. Mujeeb has done well for himself."
It will be a special match for Pollard as well. He will play his first ODI for West Indies after a gap of three years.
However, Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan wants the team to not only be dependent on spin and 'Afghani power' when it comes to big hitting. He said on the eve of the match that Afghanistan need to play smart cricket to beat West Indies. Ekana stadium has large outfields so running between the wickets will be equally important here.
"We are not big in size but we hit big sixes. We have the Afghani power and this boundary will also be small for us. But we will have to play smart cricket and not focus much on big shots. Because on such big ground, you have to play smart cricket," said Rashid.
West Indies: Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran(w), Roston Chase, Kieron Pollard(c), Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Sheldon Cottrell, Hayden Walsh, Romario Shepherd, Khary Pierre, Sunil Ambris
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ikram Ali Khil(w), Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan(c), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ibrahim Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Afsar Zazai, Naveen-ul-Haq, Yamin Ahmadzai