New Delhi, Jan 6: Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s regular T20I captain, along with spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman and wicketkeeper-batter Ikram Alikhil have been included in the squad for the upcoming three-match series against India.
Interestingly, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said in its statement that Rashid, the leg-spin all-rounder, might not feature in any game against India as he recovers from the back surgery he underwent recently. Rashid was with the Afghanistan team in their recent T20I series against the UAE as a reserve player.
It also means that opener Ibrahim Zadran, who led Afghanistan to a 2-1 series victory against the UAE in Sharjah, will continue to lead the team in the T20I series against India. Alikhil, who was part of the reserves against the UAE, has been promoted to the main squad as the backup wicket-keeper batter and takes the place of fellow keeper Mohammad Ishaq.
Mujeeb, the mystery spinner, returns to the squad for the series against India after being previously sanctioned by the board alongside fast-bowlers Fazalhaq Farooqui and Naveen-ul-Haq over expressing their wish to be left out of the central contracts list for 2024.
It led to the board deciding that No Objection Certificates (NOC) will not be issued to the trio to play in overseas T20 leagues for the next two years. Naveen and Farooqi did make it to the Afghanistan squad for the series against UAE after expressing a strong desire to represent the country, while Mujeeb’s stint with the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League (BBL) was brought to a premature end.
“We are delighted to be embarking on our maiden tour to India for a three-match series. India is the top-ranked side in the world and it’s very pleasing to witness AfghanAtalan competing in a three-match T20I against them. We believe that AfghanAtalan are no longer underdogs & have excelled well in the recent past and we look forward to a highly competitive series against India,” said Mirwais Ashraf, ACB Chairman.
It will be the first time India will be facing Afghanistan in a bilateral men’s T20I series, with the matches scheduled on January 11, 14 and 17 in Mohali, Indore and Bengaluru, respectively. This will be India’s last international series before the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup takes place in the West Indies and the USA from June 1-29.
Afghanistan squad: Ibrahim Zadran (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ikram Alikhil (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan. (IANS)