Afghan WC squad announced
Published : Monday, 22 April, 2019 at 8:33 PM Count : 376
Afghanistan on Monday announced 15-member squad for the 2019 World Cup, including fast bowler Hamid Hassan in the team who last played an ODI in June 2016.
Captaincy was given to Gulbadin Naib despite criticism from senior players Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi following Asghar Afghan's removal as ODI captain less than two months before the World Cup.
The 15-member squad was selected following a training camp held in Potchefstroom in South Africa that featured 23 players. Ikram Ali Khil, Karim Janat and Sayed Shirzad failed to make it to the 15, but were named as the reserve players, reports espncricinfo.
Four players from Afghanistan's last ODI squad - that played against Ireland - did not make the squad: left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, left-arm fast bowlers Shapoor Zadran and Fareed Ahmad, and top-order batsman Javed Ahmadi.
The selection committee said that the squad was selected after considering fitness and performances over the past six months, and that young wicketkeeper Ikram was chosen as back-up for Shahzad given the long duration of the tournament.
"As chief selector, it is my duty to select a competitive team," Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai said. "However, 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.
"Luckily for us, the come-back of senior fast bowler Hamid Hassan is good news. However, we will take into account his form and fitness during upcoming practice matches."
Hassan last played for Afghanistan in July 2016 against Ireland, and his last T20I was in the World T20 in India in 2016. He was picked in the T20I squad again earlier this year for the Zimbabwe series in February, but he didn't get a game.
Ahmadzai said the team's motive was to play "inspirational cricket" in the World Cup. "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."
Afghanistan's first game is against Australia on June 1.
Afghanistan squad: Gulbadin Naib (capt), 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