Afghanistan name uncapped Ghazanfar, Kharoti for ODI series against Ireland

March 2, 2024
Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB) National Selection Committee announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Ireland.

Kabul, March 2 (IANS) Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB) National Selection Committee announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Ireland. Senior spinners Rashid Khan (back surgery) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (right phalanx sprain) continue to recover from injuries

In a bid to fill the void left by the injured spin duo, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has introduced three fresh faces to the squad. Among them, the inclusion of 16-year-old Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar stands out, with the young off-spinner impressing selectors with his stellar performance in the U-19 World Cup. Ghazanfar’s ability to both take wickets and contribute with the bat makes him a valuable asset and a fitting replacement for Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

The 16-year-old scalped eight wickets from four matches in the tournament at an average of 16.75 and also scored 52 runs at a strike rate of 113.04 with a highest score of 37.

ACB Chief Selector Ahmad Shah Sulimankhil expressed confidence in the newcomers, highlighting their potential to make an impact in the series against Ireland. Alongside Ghazanfar, bowling all-rounder Nangyal Kharoti and right-arm seamer Bilal Sami have also been given the opportunity to prove their mettle on the international stage.

“Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman continue to recover from their respective injuries and are unavailable for selection,” ACB chief selector Ahmad Shah Sulimankhil said in a statement. “However, we have included some of the top-performing youngsters in Nangeyalia Kharote and Bilal Sami. Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar is a very talented cricketer and has demonstrated excellent skills during the U19 World Cup. He will provide cover in Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s in the ODI series against Ireland.”

Furthermore, in addition to the 16-member lineup, Zia Ur Rahman Akbar, Shahidullah Kamal and Qais Ahmad are also included in the team as reserves. The three-match ODI series against Ireland will begin from Thursday, at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, while the remaining two games will be played on March 9 and 12 respectively at the same venue.

While the absence of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman is undoubtedly a setback, the Afghan squad remains determined to put up a strong showing against Ireland. With a blend of experience and youth, backed by a resilient spirit, they are ready to take on the challenge and showcase their talent on the cricketing stage.

Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rahmat Shah (vice-capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ikram Alikhil (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Nangeyalia Kharote, Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar, Noor Ahmad, Bilal Sami, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Naveed Zadran and Farid Ahmad Malik

Reserves: Zia Ur Rahman, Shahidullah Kamal, Qais Ahmad

–IANS

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