World Cup Central: Hashmatullah bounces back after bouncer … for the sake of his mum

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June 18

Hashmatullah Shahidi will never forget Old Trafford and Old Trafford can never forget Hashmatullah.

Hit flush on the side of his helmet by a Mark Wood short ball when on 24, Afghanistan’s top-scorer ignored his broken helmet and the doctor’s advice to walk off the field. He stood his ground he says, for his team and his family.

When the ICC doctor and the team physio attended to him, Hashmatullah said he knew what he had to do. “They told me ‘let’s go’ and I said ‘no. I can’t leave my team at the moment because my team needed me’ and so I carry on.”

Hashmatullah said one of the reasons he had got up quickly after being stuck such a fierce blow – the impact made a sound that left the first slip Joe Root visibly distressed – was that he knew his mother and his family back home would be watching.

“My mom is always thinking of me and I lost my father last year and I didn’t want her to hurt. I carry on and I get up early because of my mom.”

His elder brother was also in the capacity Manchester crowd and saw Hashmatullah survive five balls at top pace from Wood, fending one that fell short of short leg.

“You can see [Jofra] Archer and Mark Wood, they were too quick for me,” he laughed, “Mark Wood was consistently bowling too quick for me and I said ‘okay, I’m not going out’. He took a short leg, he keep [bowling] bouncers to me and I said ‘okay, I will never give up’.”

Off the sixth ball from Wood after having his helmet shattered, Hashmatullah smacked him over long on for a six. “I will not give up and I try and hit a six.” The crowd roared.

Afghan management play down restaurant altercation

The Afghanistan team manager has played down an incident that saw the police called to a restaurant in Manchester late on Monday night.

Naweed Sajem insists nobody in the squad was spoken to by police, despite reports of an altercation involving a player at around 11pm, the night before Afghanistan’s match against England at Old Trafford.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that “shortly after 11.15pm, police were called to reports of an altercation at a premises on Liverpool Road in Manchester.” They said “no one was injured and no arrests have been made” but confirmed that “enquiries are ongoing”.

Gulbadin Naib, the Afghanistan captain, denied any knowledge of the incident and threatened to walk out of a press conference if questioned about it further.

One eye-witness claims there was a minor disagreement between Mohammad Nabi and a member of the public, who had suggested the players may be eating too much the night before a game. Another claims players were irritated by a particularly persistent supporter looking to video them as they ate. Neither allege any physical altercation.

Older World Cup Central entries are here and here

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