The Afghanistan Cricket Board has announced their 19-member squad for the upcoming three-match ODIs against Bangladesh, with the inclusion of five uncapped players. This series also marks the return of star all-rounder Rashid Khan, who missed the one-match Test series against Bangladesh due to back issues.
In their previous meeting in 2019, Afghanistan secured a victory over the hosts in Chattogram, largely attributed to Rashid’s remarkable 11-wicket haul. However, in the subsequent game in Dhaka, where Rashid was absent, Afghanistan suffered a heavy defeat by 546 runs, exposing the significance of his absence.
ACB’s chief selector, Asadullah Khan, expressed his enthusiasm about Rashid’s return, stating, “Definitely (Rashid’s return is a big boost). It’s very good news that everybody is in and everybody is back regarding their fitness and regarding their role in the team, and we are quite happy for that,” as he spoke to Cricbuzz on Sunday.
The squad features uncapped cricketers Zia Akbar, Izharulhaq Naveed, Wafadar Momand, Abdur Rahman, and Saleem Shafi. Additionally, Shahidullah Kamal and Sayeed Ahmad Shirzad make a comeback to the team.
Asad mentioned that the team is focused on building for the future, providing opportunities to these young cricketers, while also considering the available options for the upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup. He explained, “Certainly, we are looking at all our available options (ahead of Asia Cup and World Cup), but in the meantime, we have a team and we have good bowlers in the team. We are also in a position of development for the future so that if something happens, somebody can be able to fill his spot. In cricket, anything can happen, injuries or something, you know. We should have backup for the future as well, and this is the only reason we have people behind every player and every role.” Asad further added that their focus is currently on developing Noor Ahmed for the T20 format.
Noor Ahmed, who had a prominent stint in the IPL, couldn’t secure his spot in the squad, along with Farid Ahmed Malik. Asad commented, “Right now, he (Noor) is very good in T20, and he should fill it. As I said, everybody should be behind the player, and Naveed Izhar (leg-spinner) will be in one-day, backing Rashid and Mujeeb. In the T20, we should have somebody who has confidence. The format is totally changed, and the mindset is totally changed, and I don’t want to mess it up,” concluding his statement.
Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Shahidullah, Zia-ur-Rehman, Wafadar Momand, Mohammad Saleem, Sayed Shirzad
Afghanistan backup reserve: Karim Janat, Zubaid Akbari, Qais Ahmad, Ihsanullah Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Naveen-ul-Haq, Farid Malik, Darwish Rasooli, Ishaq Rahimi
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