India and Afghanistan should have shared Asian Games gold, says Afghan pacer Fareed Malik

Left-arm pacer Fareed Malik, one of the travelling reserves in the Afghanistan contingent here for the World Cup, still can’t get over the outcome of the Asian Games final against India in Hangzhou.

Put in to bat, Afghanistan were 112 for five before rain arrived at Zheijang University of Technology Cricket Field on Saturday. No play was possible after that and India were awarded the gold medal on the basis of their superior world ranking.

The no result meant that Afghanistan had to settle for silver for their third consecutive Asian Games after 2010 and 2014. Cricket was not played in the 2018 edition at Jakarta.

Malik, who is 15 ODIs and 28 T20s old in his Afghanistan career, had played a major role in the win over Pakistan in the low-scoring semifinal with figures of three for 15 in three overs.

“Aadha aadha kaat dena chaiye tha (laughs). The gold should have been shared as the game was abandoned. Awarding on the basis of rankings, lets just say it wasn’t ideal. Match hota to maza aata. It would have been a lot of fun,” Malik, who linked up with the Afghanistan team on Tuesday, told PTI.

Sharing the medal is not unprecedented in multi-sport events. Legendary Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim had shared gold in the Tokyo Olympics after both jumped 2.37 metres. However, that competition was not hit by weather like the Asian Games cricket final.

Malik, team’s skipper in the 2019 World Cup Gulbadin Naib, and Sharafuddin Ashraf arrived together from China and were part of the nets on Tuesday. Malik, the 29-year-old from Jalalabad, bowled with full intensity to the in-form Rahmanullah Gurbaz and hurried the opener on a few occasions.

Talking about the experience of playing in a non-cricket nation like China, Malik said: “It was nice but people in the stadium did not have a lot of knowledge about the game. They were clapping for everything whether someone got out or when a six was hit.” The food was an issue in China but Malik and his team members were able to find a Muslim restaurant in the vicinity.

“Nahi toh masla ho jata (it could have been an issue),” he added.

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