Afghanistan released its squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 on Thursday. The tournament will commence on October 16th in Australia. Afghanistan has announced a squad of 15 members and four stand-by reserves. The team will be led by veteran Afghani, Mohammad Nabi. They will begin their tournament against the mighty Englishmen on October 22nd, 2022.
Afghanistan team makes strange call ups
Three surprise selections took place. Young Darwish Rasooli makes a return. He was out of action owing to a finger injury. Qais Ahmed marks his return to the senior team. Salim Safi, an uncapped player, has been given his first international chance in an ICC tournament. However, the Afghanistan cricket team’s chief selector, Noor Malikzai, has justified Salim’s selection and said that he was picked considering the Australian pitch and weather conditions.
“Since the Australian conditions offer further support for the fast bowlers, so we have added Salim Safi, the tall right-arm quick to add further impetus to our bowling department. Overall we have picked our best available players for the event and we are hopeful of them to do well and better represent the country in the mega event.”
Five players axed
Afghanistan featured in the recently concluded Asia Cup. They showed great potential initially but lost two close games. As a result, they failed to reach the super four stage. Interestingly, the Afghanistan cricket board has decided to axe a total of five players from the Asia Cup squad for the major ICC event. The players are Samiullah Shinwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Karim Janat, and Noor Ahmad. All of them were a part of the Asia Cup held in Dubai. The shuffling of the 1/3rd squad is not generally considered ideal for an official ICC event.
Along with these 15 member units, four stand-by reserves will also travel to Australia. Afsar Zazai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rahmat Shah, and Gulbadin Naib are those 4 reserves.
Tough road ahead for Afghanistan
Afghanistan has been placed in Group A of the super 12 teams. They will face competition from three cricketing giants. They share their group with the defending champions and home team, Australia. New Zealand and England are also placed in Group A. Considering only the top 2 of 6 teams will advance further, Afghanistan’s chances with this squad look bleak. However, T20 is a format of small margins. Any team can cause an upset by the smallest of margins. And, Afghanistan has shown tremendous growth in the past few years. They do have the potential, but performing in Australian conditions will be a little challenging for them.
Afghanistan’s final 15-member squad
Mohammad Nabi (captain), Najibullah Zadran (vice-captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicket-keeper), Azmatullah Omarzai, Darwish Rasooli, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen ul Haq, Qais Ahmad, Rashid Khan, Salim Safi, Usman Ghani