The selection committee Afghanistan Cricket Board announced its 15-member squad for the ICC World Cup-2019 with couple surprises inclusions in the team.
The selectors have brought back, the former captain Asghar Afghan and the fast bowler Hamid Hassan which for many would be a big a surprise.
The 31-year-old fast bowler Hassan, last played for Afghanistan in 2017 and then fitness issues hampered chances in the team. He has since then made comeback to the squad, although his fitness remains under scrutiny.
“Luckily for us, the comeback of senior fast bowler Hamid Hassan is a good news,” Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai, the chief selector was quoted by ICC official website.. “However, we will take into account his form and fitness during upcoming practice matches.”
“It is has been a six-month preparation process for the ICC Cricket World Cup. The mission is to play inspirational cricket in the tournament; I know there are strong teams but we will do our level best to achieve our goals,” Ahmadzai was quoted. “There were some challenges that we needed to handle. We selected the best squad considering factors such as experience, fitness, team balance, current form and conditions.”
Afghan, who was axed as captain earlier this month, was included as well. He will be one of Afghanistan’s key middle-order batsmen, along with Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Naib and Najibullah Zadran. The presence of Nabi, Rashid and Samiullah Shinwari means that Afghanistan will bat fairly deep.
As for the openers, Afghanistan have two options in Noor Ali Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai to partner with Mohammad Shahzad, who is a guaranteed starter for his batting and wicket-keeping. Javed Ahmadi, who was also in the race, was left out.
In the spin department, Afghanistan decided to stick to just Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi as their primary options with Shinwari and Rahmat Shah serving as part-time options. Left-arm wrist-spinner Zahir Khan, who played his only against Ireland in March, was left out.
Afghanistan also have picked three reserve options in Ikram Ali Khil, Karim Janat and Sayed Shirzad. Ikram Ali Khil is a top-order batsman and offers an emergency wicket-keeping option. The other two are seam-bowling options.
Squad: Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
(With Inputs from ICC)