Afghan Spin-Heavy Test Squad Announced

World’s number one T20 bowler Rashid Khan will head the spin department as the 15-member Afghanistan squad is announced on Tuesday which will play a historic one-off Test against India in Bengaluru from June 14.

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Apart from Rashid Khan and young Mujeeb ur Rahman, the team also has the likes of chinaman Zahir Khan and left-arm orthodox spinner Amir Hamza Hotak.

Rashid and Mujeeb has already shown the entire cricketing fraternity their talents in the shortest format, but will definitely face an uphill task when it comes to red ball cricket.

While Rashid had previously played four first-class games, 17-year-old young Mujeeb is yet to play a longer format encounter.

The batting of Afghanistan will mainly depend on skipper Stanikzai, who will be supported by flamboyant opener Mohammed Shahzad and batting all-rounder Mohammed Nabi.

The entire squad has cumulative experience of 205 first-class games with only four players playing more than 20 first-class matches, which includes Nabi (32 games), skipper Stanikzai (23 games), pacer Wafadar (22 games) and Shahzad (20 games).

Experienced pacer Dawlat Zadran will miss the Test because of injury and the pace department will be handled by Yamin Ahmadzai Wafadar and Sayed Ahmed Shirzad.

Team’s another experienced left-arm seamer Shapoor Zadran was not picked for the longer format as he had last played a four-day game back in 2013.

This means that the entire spotlight will be on Rashid Khan, who is termed as the “best T20 bowler in the world” by none other than Sachin Tendulkar himself.

“He is doing really well, especially the shorter format – T20, he did fantastic for Sunrisers, he is a quality bowler and everyone needs to accept and respect that. Afghanistan can’t be taken lightly, because in cricket and in generally in life you cannot take anything for granted,” India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane said.

“Qualifying for a Test is the biggest thing for Afghanistan cricket and that is good for cricket. We don’t want to take any team lightly. We just want to go out there and play with the same intensity as we do with every other team.”

Afghanistan Squad:

Ashgar Stanikzai, Mohammed Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ihsanullah Janat, Nasir Jamal, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Zahir Khan, Amir Hamza Hotak, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai Wafadar, Mujeeb ur Rahman.