Afghanistan on Sunday announced their 17-member squad for Asia Cup 2023, which starts on Wednesday. The tournament will be jointly hosted by Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
A few changes have been made to the team that faced Pakistan last week in the three-match ODI series, which Afghanistan lost 3-0 on Saturday.
For the upcoming tournament, a key event ahead of this year’s World Cup in India, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has left out Fareed Ahmad, Azmatullah Omarzai, Shahidullah Kamal and Wafadar Momand.
Omarzai is out injured after picking up a side strain in the series against Pakistan.
However, Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf are making comebacks.
Janat last played an ODI, his only one, in 2017, but has plenty of experience in the T20I format. The fast bowler has 37 T20I wickets at an average of 26.81.
Najibullah returns from an injury that kept him out of the Pakistan ODIs. His return is expected to boost the batting unit with his presence in the middle-order. He has 2013 ODI runs at an average of 30.04. Sharafuddin is an additional all-round option in the squad.
Hopes are however being pinned on the solid line up of experienced players that include the likes of Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Nabi, and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi among others.
Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran will be the openers for Afghanistan, while Riaz Hassan, Nabi, Shahidi along with Najibullah are expected to take the middle-order roles.
Afghanistan’s spin options include Rashid Khan, Nabi, Noor Ahmad and Mujeeb ur Rahman. Left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi will lead the pace attack, with support from Gulbadin Naib, Janat, Abdul Rahman and Mohammad Saleem.
Squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Abdul Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Suliman Safi, Fazalhaq Farooqi