Rashid Khan will lead a new-look 18-member Afghanistan squad for the three-match T20I series against UAE with as many as seven changes from that of the T20 World Cup last year. Mohammad Nabi, who stepped down from captaincy after the tournament, has been left out.Zahir Khan along with Rahmat Shah – who has been a regular in the ODI side – have been included in the side with the possibility of debuting in T20Is. Afsar Zazai, Noor Ahmad, and Nijat Masood, each having played under five T20Is each, return as does Karim Jannat, who last featured in the Asia Cup. Sharafuddin Ashraf, who was among the reserves for the T20 World Cup, has also been called up to the squad.
Apart from Nabi, the omissions include T20 globetrotter Qais Ahmad, Darwish Rasooli, Mohammad Saleem, and Usman Ghani. Rashid, Qais, and Farooqi among others will return to international set-up after featuring in franchise leagues across the world.
Mirwais Ashraf, the ACB chairman, said: “We don’t take any team lightly and have always tended to completely prepare the squad for any event,” he said. “The team has been in the UAE for around 10 days as it was getting ready for the series.”
The three-T20I series, which is part of a five-year agreement between Emirates Cricket Board and Afghanistan Cricket Board, starts on Thursday and all the games will be played in Abu Dhabi. The agreement stated that the UAE board will provide logistical and infrastructure support, including hosting Afghanistan’s “home” matches.
Afghanistan squad: Rashid Khan (Capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai, Fareed Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Gulbadin Naib, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Jannat, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Naveen-ul-Haq, Nijat Masood, Noor Ahmad, Rahmat Shah, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Zahir Khan