Afghanistan names strong 15-member squad for ODI series against Sri Lanka

Photo: ACB

Abdul Rahman, the 21-year-old uncapped medium-fast bowler, has been recalled to Afghanistan’s ODI squad for the three-match series in Sri Lanka early next month.

Among the squad are most of the regulars, including strong players such as Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Noor Ahmad and Fazalhaq Farooqi. However, there are some “young faces” in the team.

“It’s good to have a couple of young faces for the series; the build-up for the ICC Cricket World Cup has already begun, and we are looking for every possible opportunity to build a good combination of the team and prepare them well for the event,” ACB chairman Mirwais Ashraf said in a statement.

The series will be played in Hambantota and will run from June 2 to 7.

Afghanistan has qualified directly for the 2023 ODI World Cup, to be played in India later this year, unlike Sri Lanka, who have to go through the qualifiers in Zimbabwe and hope to finish in the top two there to secure a spot in the tournament.

The squad for the Sri Lanka tour meanwhile has the experience of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid, as well as captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Ibrahim Zadran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

But Shahidullah Kamal, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zia Ur Rahman Akbar and Gulbadin Naib have been named as reserves.

ESPNcricinfo meanwhile reports that the bowling looks especially strong. Apart from Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi – No. 6, No. 8 and No. 10 in the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings – there is Noor, who has had an impressive run in his debut IPL season with Gujarat Titans, while Farooqi will lead the fast bowling attack.

Rahman comes in on the back of a good showing in the ongoing domestic one-day tournament in Afghanistan, where he has picked up seven wickets in five games at an economy rate of 5.81 for Hindukush Strikers.

Afghanistan ODI squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rahmat Shah (vice-capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik
Reserves: Gulbadin Naib, Shahidullah Kamal, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zia ur Rahman Akbar