Afghanistan skipper sees Bangladesh ODI series as good World Cup preparation

Photo: ACB

Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said Monday the team’s upcoming ODI match against Bangladesh will be ideal preparation for both the Asia Cup and World Cup.

“We have games in the Asia Cup and World Cup, so this will be a good preparation for us to judge the opposition like the Bangladesh team,” Shahidi told reporters in Chittagong.

“Bangladesh always plays well in their home, and also they did well in the last couple of years in ODIs,” Shahidi said. “But we also played good cricket in ODIs in the last two years.”

Afghanistan played two ODI series in Bangladesh, in 2016 and 2022, losing both 2-1.

They lost the one-off test in the current series by a record 546 runs in June but hope to reverse their fortunes in the ODIs with the return of key players such as Rashid Khan.

Shahidi said he felt confident when Khan was playing.

The three-match series will begin in Chittagong on Wednesday.

This year’s 50-over Asia Cup tournament will be jointly hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka between August 31 and September 17, before the ODI World Cup in India opens in October.

Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha meanwhile also addressed reporters on Monday and said the matches were “an ideal preparation for us leading up to the Asia Cup and for the World Cup”, adding that Afghanistan would be tough opponents.

“They have been playing good cricket lately… they are a pretty formidable team in the one-day format,” he said.

The second and third ODIs will also be held at Chittagong, on July 8 and 11, with two T20s to follow in Bangladesh’s northeastern city of Sylhet on July 14 and 16.

This comes after Afghanistan recalled batsmen Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai to their 16-man squad for the two-match T20 International series against Bangladesh.

Uncapped fast bowler Wafadar Momand has also been called up to the squad.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Shahzad played the last of his 70 T20Is against New Zealand in November 2021 in the United Arab Emirates, while Zazai missed out on the recent 2-1 series against Pakistan, also in the UAE, AFP reported.

The squad, announced late on Sunday, had no room for Afsar Zazai, Usman Ghani, Sharafuddin Ashraf, and former national skipper Gulbadin Naib, who were part of the Pakistan series in March at Sharjah.

“We have consulted T20I captain Rashid Khan and Head Coach Jonathon Trott in finalizing the squad for the upcoming T20I series,” chief national selector Asadullah Khan said, according to an Afghanistan Cricket Board statement.

“We have achieved decent results in T20Is in recent months, and our focus remains on further strengthening our performance in this format. The upcoming series presents a great opportunity for us to showcase our abilities and further accomplish our goals in T20 cricket.”

Bangladesh won the only test match of the series by a record 546 runs in June.

AFGHANISTAN: Rashid Khan (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Sediqullah Atal, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, and Wafadar Momand.