New Delhi: World’s premier T20 bowler Rashid Khan will lead a four-pronged spin attack in the 15-strong Afghanistan squad announced today for the historic one-off Test against India in Bengaluru, starting 14 June.
Apart from IPL sensations Rashid and young Mujeeb ur Rahman, the other two spinners are chinaman Zahir Khan and left-arm orthodox Amir Hamza Hotak in the Ashgar Stanikzai-led squad.
The batting will primarily depend on skipper Stanikzai, flamboyant opener Mohammed Shahzad and batting all-rounder Mohammed Nabi.
In all, the squad has a collective experience of 205 first-class games, which makes it 13.6 four-day games per player.
Only four players have an experience of 20 plus first-class matches. Nabi, who has the experience of playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past two IPL seasons, is the most capped first-class player with 32 games.
Afghanistan will miss their experienced seamer Dawlat Zadran out with an injury and the pace department will be handled by Yamin Ahmadzai Wafadar and Sayed Ahmed Shirzad.
Experienced left-arm seamer Shapoor Zadran has been picked for the T20s against Bangladesh in Dehradun but he has not been picked in the longer version as the last played a four-day game in 2013.
The Afghanistan national cricket team is the 12th Test cricket playing Full Member nation. Cricket has been played in Afghanistan since the mid 19th century, but it is only in recent years that the national team has become successful. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995 and became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001 and a member of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 2003.
They have ranked 9th in International Twenty20 cricket as of 6 February 2018 ahead of full members Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. In the same year, they won their first Intercontinental Cup, beating Scotland in the final.
After nearly a decade of playing top-class international cricket, on 22 June 2017, in an ICC meeting in London, full ICC membership (Test status) was granted to Afghanistan (concurrently with Ireland), taking the number of Test cricket playing nations to twelve.
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.