KABUL - Afghanistan have announced an 18-member squad for the ODI series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka, later this month. The announcement saw 18-year-old spin sensation Noor Ahmed, make his way back into Afghanistan’s ODI team, after being excluded from the series against Bangladesh last month. He has represented Afghanistan in three ODI matches thus far, after making his debut last year. He had a forgettable run in the ODI series against Sri Lanka in June, where he picked up only two wickets in two ODIs at a mammoth average of 62. However, Afghanistan have dropped left-arm spinner Zia Ur Rahman Akbar, who debuted in the ODI series against Bangladesh and uncapped leg-spinner Izharulhaq Naveed, from their contingent against Pakistan. Most of the players, including pace duo Mohammad Saleem Safi and Wafadar Momand from Afghanistan’s first-ever bilateral ODI series victory have retained their spots, except for the aforementioned spinners and pace bowler Nijaat Masood.
Moreover, Left-arm pace bowler Farid Ahmad Malik, and middle-order batter Shahidullah Kamal have also been included as travelling reserves.
Afghanistan’s chief selector Asadullah Khan stated, “Our whole concentration is to prepare the team for the upcoming two big events of Asia Cup and the World Cup 2023. This three-match ODI series against Pakistan provides us with a wonderful opportunity to prepare the team for the forthcoming two events.”
He further added, “The preparations for the Pakistan series are progressing well; the players have recently performed well in the Kabul Camp, which has been supervised by ACB’s high-performance centre staff. The team will also undergo a week-long conditioning camp prior to the Pakistan series.”
The upcoming series is the first bilateral ODI series between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Prior to that, they played only four ODIs and Pakistan remained unbeaten in all.
The three-match ODI series is scheduled to be played on August 22, 24 and 26, as the first two games will take place at Hambantota, while the third game will be played at Colombo.