Afghanistan’s ODI team is set to witness the return of some key players as they gear up for the upcoming Asia Cup. After a hiatus of over six years, allrounder Karim Janat is making a comeback to the ODI format, joining a formidable squad led by Hashmatullah Shahidi. The team also welcomes back Najibullah Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf, adding depth and experience to the lineup.
The Return of Karim Janat and Other Key Players:
Karim Janat’s absence from ODI cricket has been significant, but his consistent performances in T20Is have kept him in the spotlight. He recently achieved a remarkable feat by taking a hat-trick in a T20I against Bangladesh. Furthermore, Janat marked his Test debut this year, adding another dimension to his cricketing prowess.
Najibullah Zadran’s Recovery and Sharafuddin Ashraf’s Comeback:
Najibullah Zadran’s absence from the Pakistan ODI series due to a knee injury left a void in Afghanistan’s lineup. However, he is set to return, bringing his explosive batting and valuable contributions to the middle order. Joining him is Sharafuddin Ashraf, the left-arm spin-bowling allrounder, who will make his comeback after being away from the team since August 2022.
Shuffle in the Squad:
Enthusiastically embracing the return of these key players, Afghanistan has also introduced strategic changes to the squad. Significantly, within the cohort that engaged in the recent ODI series against Pakistan, a number of notable figures have been deliberately omitted from the Asia Cup lineup. It is worth highlighting that Wafadar Momand, Azmatullah Omarzai, Fareed Ahmad, and Shahidullah are included among those who didn’t secure a spot in the final selection.
Injury and Replacement:
Azmatullah Omarzai’s sidelining due to a side strain during the third ODI against Pakistan led to his replacement by Gulbadin Naib. Similarly, Shahidullah was brought in as a substitute for Najibullah Zadran.
Batting and Spin Prowess:
Hashmatullah Shahidi will assume leadership of the team as the captain, seamlessly guiding a batting lineup that prominently showcases the opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. In the spin department, the team boasts an abundance of talent, featuring renowned names such as Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf, and Noor Ahmad. Remarkably, even though Noor Ahmad did not participate in the recent ODI series, he stands out as a promising young talent who has already left a substantial impact on various franchise leagues across the world.
Pace Spearheaded by Fazalhaq Farooqi:
Fazalhaq Farooqi will lead the pace attack, bringing his skills and energy to the team’s bowling efforts.
Asia Cup Campaign:
Afghanistan finds themselves placed in Group B for the Asia Cup. Their campaign kicks off on September 3 in Lahore as they take on Bangladesh in what promises to be an exciting encounter.
With the triumphant return of Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran, and Sharafuddin Ashraf, Afghanistan’s ODI squad is undeniably poised for success in the Asia Cup. This harmonious blend of experience, remarkable talent, and invigorating fresh energy unequivocally positions them as a robust contender in the impending tournament. As the anticipation reaches its zenith, fervent fans eagerly await their team’s stellar performances, envisioning their determined efforts to once again etch a remarkable mark on the grand international stage.
Afghanistan’s Squad for the Asia Cup:
1. Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain)
2. Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper)
3. Ibrahim Zadran
4. Riaz Hassan
5. Rahmat Shah
6. Najibullah Zadran
7. Mohammad Nabi
8. Ikram Alikhil (wicketkeeper)
9. Rashid Khan
10. Gulbadin Naib
11. Karim Janat
12. Abdul Rahman
13. Sharafuddin Ashraf
14. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
15. Noor Ahmad
16. Mohammad Saleem
17. Fazalhaq Farooqi