Welcome back Pathan bhai. Hope you can get your compatriots to sign up and engage in some good banter and [healthy] trash talking before the two world cup openers between our brotherly nations!
As a generalized fan of Associate cricket - we can't forget we were Associates not so long ago - I support all Associate nations that show aptitude and have native player bases. The only exception to that rule being the USA, who I support by birthright (strange cuz I don't give a crap about USA soccer). Thus, I support Ireland, Afghanistan, and now Nepal but not the UAE or Hong Kong or Netherlands. I also find Zimbabwe annoying due to the way in which they constantly lose their top players as a full strength ZIM side would easily be as good as us, and quite possibly a touch better. One of the things I hope happens in my lifetime is that Ireland, Afghanistan, and Nepal attain Test status with Zimbabwe getting their act together. If the ICC has anything less than 12 Test nations by the year 2100 it has royally failed in its global mission.
That being said, Ireland and Afghanistan are still at least a notch behind us. That doesn't mean they're far behind however. But I think in the game's longest format at least, Afghanistan would find us as tough an opponent as we would find India. In ODIs and T20s, Afghanistan has more than a fighting shot at taking us down, and I think Bangladesh fans should embrace that competitiveness.
Now I admit I haven't seen Afghanistan all that much, but my assessment is that AFG's batting is their weakness and the bowling isn't as strong as people make it out to be. "AFG has better pacers than Bangladesh" is something we often here, even from ourselves. I think thats is not accurate. You have one pacer that is as good as our best seamers in Hamid Hassan. The Zadrans and others are good at the Associate level, but Test level is something else altogether.
AFG's batting is also too prone to collapses, even at Associate level to warrant even a casual worry to Test sides.
All that being said, AFG have definitely done far more with way less than Bangladesh did, and it is not implausible that AFG could even be the better team 20 years from now. AFG has raw athleticism that PAK, IND, BD cannot match and play exciting cricket. Their rate of development has also been way faster than ours. Exciting times await.
I also hope the BCB engages more with CI and the ACB to organize more matches especially since the major powers of cricket don't see us as lucrative enough draws.
Bangladesh is a stronger team with Shakib al Hasan.
Bangladesh is a stronger team without Shakib al Hasan.