On Friday, the ACB Selection Committee announced the decision to remove Afghan from the national team’s captaincy across all three formats. In his place, Gulbadin Naib (ODI), Rashid (T20I) and Rahmat Shah (Test) were named as the skippers in a split captaincy.
Taking to Twitter to express his opposition to the move, Rashid wrote, “With all the respect to the Selection Committee, I strongly disagree with the decision as it is irresponsible & bias.”
“As we have the World Cup in front of us, Asghar Afghan should remain as our team Captain. His captaincy is highly instrumental for team success. With just months to go for such a mega event like World Cup, changing the captain will cause uncertainty and also team morale will be affected,” the leg-spin sensation added.
With all the respect to the Selection Committee, I strongly disagree with the decision as it is irresponsible & bias. As we have @cricketworldcup in front of us, Captain #MAsgharAfghan should remain as our team Captain. His captaincy is highly instrumental for team success .(1/2)— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) April 5, 2019
Rashid’s Afghanistan and Sunrisers Hyderabad (IPL) team-mate Mohammad Nabi too took to social media to voice his support for Asghar Afghan.
“Being a senior member of the side and having seen the rise of Afghanistan cricket, I don’t think it is the right time to change the captain before the World Cup. The team has gelled really well under Asghar and personally feel he is the right man to lead us,” the all-rounder wrote.
Being a senior member of the side & having seen the rise of Afghanistan cricket @ashrafghani I don’t think it’s the right time to change the captain before the WC @afgexecutive The team has gelled really well under #Asghar & personally feel he is the right man to lead us @hmohib— Mohammad Nabi (@MohammadNabi007) April 5, 2019
The 23 players who have been included in the list will attend a two-day training camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore beginning on April 15 where they will all be asked to prove their fitness.
Following the completion of the fitness camp, the final 15-man Pakistan squad for the World Cup will be announced on April 18.
The biggest omissions in the 23-man probable squad are Umar Akmal and Saad Ali who both recently featured in the ODI series against Australia in the UAE where Pakistan were handed a 5-0 drubbing.
While Akmal and Saad Ali have been left out, there is a place for specialist Test seamer Mohammad Abbas, leg-spinner Yasir Shah as well as Shan Masood who scored a half-century in the series against Australia.
There was good news for pacer Mohammad Hasnain as well with the youngster finding a spot in the 23-man squad. 18-year-old Hasnain had impressed for Pakistan Super League (PSL) champions Quetta Gladiators before he was handed his maiden international outing in the series against Australia.
The Men in Green will depart for England for the World Cup on April 23 where they will play a couple of warm-up games against Kent and Leicestershire. Pakistan will then take on hosts England in a five-match ODI series as well as a sole T20I before opening their World Cup campaign on May 31 against West Indies at Trent Bridge.
23-MAN PROBABLE PAKISTAN SQUAD
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah.
Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan has been relieved of his duties with the country’s board appointing new captains for all three formats on Friday.
Asghar Afghan had been leading the national team across all three formats previously but the Afghan board have now decided to go the route of split-captaincy for the three formats. Asghar Afghan has been removed from the leadership role with Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah announced as the new skippers for the three formats.
The decision to do so was taken on Friday following a meeting of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Selection Committee.
It will be 28-year-old all-rounder Gulbadin Naib who will lead the team in the ODI format and thus the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup in England. Leg-spin sensation Rashid Khan will serve as Naib’s deputy in the 50-over format while the 20-year-old will take over as skipper in the T20I format.
ACB Selection Committee announced changes in team Afghanistan's leadership across formats as follows.— Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) April 5, 2019
- @GbNaib Captain
- @rashidkhan_19 V. Captain
- @rashidkhan_19 Captain
- @shafaqshinwarai V. Captain
- @RahmatShah_08 Captain
- @Hashmat_50 V.Captain pic.twitter.com/zRRvwgtKFF
Rashid is the No1 ranked T20 bowler in the world and it is the first time that the wrist-spinner has been appointed to a leadership role in the Afghanistan setup. Meanwhile, Shafiqullah Shafaq has taken over as the new vice-captain in the T20I format.
25-year-old all-rounder Rahmat Shah has been announced as the new Test skipper of the side with Hashmatullah Shahidi announced as his deputy.
Afghanistan have played two Tests so far since they were given the Full ICC membership with Shah playing a part in both the matches. The right-handed batsman has scored 198 runs in those two Tests at an average of 48.