Afghanistan name strong 15-member squad for ODI series in Sri Lanka

Abdul Rahman, the 21-year-old uncapped medium fast bowler, has earned a recall to Afghanistan’s ODI squad for the three-match series in Sri Lanka early next month. It’s a strong squad with most of the regulars, including some players who are currently at the IPL - Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Noor Ahmad and Fazalhaq Farooqi - among the 15.

Afghanistan have qualified directly for the 2023 ODI World Cup, to be played in India later this year, unlike Sri Lanka, who have to go through the qualifiers in Zimbabwe and hope to finish in the top two there to make the make the global tournament.
“It’s good to have a couple of young faces for the series; the build-up for the ICC Cricket World Cup has already begun, and we are looking for every possible opportunity to build a good combination of the team and prepare them well for the event,” Mirwais Ashraf, the Afghanistan Cricket Board chair, said in a statement.

The squad has the experience of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid, as well as captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Ibrahim Zadran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, but Shahidullah Kamal, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zia Ur Rahman Akbar and Gulbadin Naib have been named in the reserves.

The bowling looks especially strong. Apart from Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi - No. 6, No. 8 and No. 10 in the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings - there is Noor, who has had an impressive run in his debut IPL season with Gujarat Titans, while Farooqi will lead the fast bowling attack. Rahman comes in on the back of a good showing in the ongoing domestic one-day tournament in Afghanistan, where he has picked up seven wickets in five games at an economy rate of 5.81 for Hindukush Strikers.

Afghanistan ODI squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rahmat Shah (vice-capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik

Reserves: Gulbadin Naib, Shahidullah Kamal, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zia ur Rahman Akbar