DUBAI: Afghanistan, the rising Asian side, may come in the upcoming Asia Cup with a lethal surprise package to shock opponents as the team has named three uncapped players in an otherwise familiar-looking squad of 17 for the continental event.
Sayed Sherzad, Munir Ahmad and Wafadar are the three players in the squad to have never played ODI cricket before. Of them, Wafadar and Sherzad have played Test cricket and T20 International cricket, respectively, but Ahmad is yet to represent Afghanistan.
Wafadar, the 18-year-old fast bowler who impressed in Afghanistan’s maiden Test match earlier this year against India, and Sherzad, a 23-year-old left-arm pacer who has played three T20 Internationals, have been called up to bolster the pace attack.
Afghanistan’s strength will, expectedly, remain their spinners Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman are all in the squad.
Ahmad, 22, has a good batting average across formats in domestic cricket 49.86 in first-class matches and 48.42 in List ‘A’ games and he also doubles up as a back-up wicket-keeper for Mohammad Shahzad if needed.
Dawlat Zadran is the only omission from the side that won the ODI series in Ireland recently. Zadran did not feature in the playing XI in any of the three ODIs on the tour, where Afghanistan won the ODIs 2-1 to go with their 2-0 win in the T20 Internationals.
Afghanistan begins their Asia Cup campaign with a match against Sri Lanka on Sept 17.
Asghar Afghan (captain), Mohammad Shahzad (wicket-keeper), Ihsanullah Janat, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmat Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Aftab Alam, Samiullah Shinwari, Munir Ahmad Kakar (wicket-keeper), Sayed Ahmad Sherzad, Sharafudin Ashraf, Wafadar.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018