The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have unveiled their 15-member squad for the upcoming One Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka. The series is scheduled to commence on February 9 in Pallekele, Sri Lanka.
Rashid Khan’s absence highlights squad selection
Afghanistan’s premier spinner, Rashid Khan, who underwent back surgery late last year, has not yet recuperated sufficiently to participate in the ODIs. In his absence, Qais Ahmad, with just one ODI appearance for Afghanistan, has been included in the squad by the team management.
Notable inclusions and exclusions
Najibullah Zadran, the member of Afghanistan’s World Cup squad, has been omitted from the Sri Lanka ODIs. Additionally, fast bowler Mohammad Saleem has been sidelined due to a hamstring strain. Meanwhile, Noor Ahmad, currently playing for Durban’s Super Giants in the SA20, will rejoin the national team after missing the final stages of the league.
Return of key players
All-rounder Gulbadin Naib, who showcased his big-hitting prowess in the recent T20I series against India, has earned a recall to the ODI side. Fareed Ahmad has also secured a spot in the 15-member squad, both having been reserve players during the 2023 ODI World Cup. Hashmatullah Shahidi will continue to lead the side.
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One-off Test match and upcoming ODI series
Notably, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are currently engaged in a one-off Test match at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. Following the conclusion of the Test match, the three ODIs will be played at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
“This marks our third visit to Sri Lanka in the past 16 months, which is a promising sign moving forward. The selectors have selected a strong line-up and we eagerly anticipate an exciting series ahead,” said ACB CEO Naseeb Khan in a media release.
Afghanistan’s squad for Sri Lanka ODIs: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmat Shah (vice-captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ikram Alikhil (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Qais Ahmad, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveed Zadran, Farid Ahmad
Reserves: Sharafuddin Ashraf, Shahidullah, Abdul Rahman, Bilal Sami