Rashid Khan will have several familiar players around him as he begins his stint as Afghanistan’s all-format captain, but the Test and T20I squads he has been given for the tour of Bangladesh also include a number of new names.
The September tour will begin with a one-off Test match, Afghanistan’s third ever, in Chattogram.
Apart from Mohammad Shahzad, who is serving a suspension, middle-order batsman Nasir Jamal, left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf, paceman Wafadar Momand, and left-arm wristspinner Waqar Salamkheil have all been left out of the squad that beat Ireland in the one-off Test in Dehradun in March.
The experienced left-arm paceman Shapoor Zadran, who has never played Test cricket but did take part in the ODIs against Ireland, as well as Afsar Zazai, the wicketkeeper-batsman who played Afghanistan’s maiden Test – against India in June 2018 in Bengaluru – have both been included. The others to make the cut were left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, medium pacer Ahmad Shirzad and two players who have never represented Afghanistan, opening batsman Ibrahim Zadran and legspinner Qais Ahmad.
The squad of 15 includes veterans Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan, the captain in Afghanistan’s first two Test matches, with other experienced players like Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi in the mix too.
The Test will be played from September 5-9, and will be followed by a triangular T20I series, also involving Zimbabwe, scheduled from September 13-24. Apart from the regulars, that side also has the uncapped trio of left-hand batsman Shahidullah, medium pace-bowling allrounder Fazal Niazai, and wicketkeeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
“We have selected a 17-member squad for the T20I matches as per the advice of the captain as we have two important tournaments – T20I Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup 2020 – ahead of us,” chief selector Andy Moles said. “We will seek to prepare good sides for these tournaments and those players who perform well, will be considered for selection.
“We will also consider the performance of players in the upcoming Shpageeza Cricket League and Afghanistan Premier League T20 for future selection.”
The Test squad will leave for Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, where the players will train from September 22 to 29 before travelling to Bangladesh.
Test: Rashid Khan (capt), Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Ihsanullah, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Zahir Khan, Javed Ahmadi, Ahmad Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Afsar Zazai (wk), Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmad
T20I: Rashid Khan (capt), Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Hazratullah Zazai, Najeeb Tarakai, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Shahidullah, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Fareed Ahmad, Shafiqullah, Fazal Niazai, Dawlat Zadran, Naveen-ul-Haq, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk)