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T20 World Cup | Hamid Hassan’s yorkers dismantle Namibia as Afghanistan record huge win

Abhishek Singh ∙ 31 Oct 2021

T20 World Cup | Hamid Hassan’s yorkers dismantle Namibia as Afghanistan record huge win

If the competition would be about Net Run Rate (NRR), Afghanistan would be winning it hands down. After defeating Scotland by 130 runs in their first match, the Afghans registered yet another huge victory as they downed Namibia by 62 runs. Hamid Hassan, who played in place of injured Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman was the hero of the game for the Afghans as his deadly yorkers saw the end of three of Namibia’s most dangerous batters in skipper Gerhard Erasmus, David Wiese and JJ Smit. Chasing a target of 161, Namibia didn’t really have a good start as they lost the opener, Craig Williams, in the very first over of the game to Naveen-Ul-Haq. Soon Michael Van Lingen departed as well, becoming the second scalp of Naveen. Nicol Loftie-Eaton, who did well with the ball in the first innings, wasn’t able to reflect it with the bat as he got bowled trying to hit a ball out of the park off the bowling of Gulbadin Naib. Rashid Khan had to do very little as Zane Green tried to ramp him and got bowled on the very first ball of his spell. After this dismissal, the best pairing for Namibia was crease as David Wiese partnered Erasmus. The two were going well and had added 20 runs for the fifth wicket at run a ball. But then came Hassan with his brutal toe crushing yorkers at a medium pace. He first bowled Erasmus and then in the same over removed another dangerous batter in JJ Smit with bouncer brushing his gloves and going into the gloves of Mohammad Shahzad. From there on there was no way that Namibia were going to chase down 105 from 55 balls and it was made sure as Jan Frylinck, the last batting option was also removed in the 15th over as Naveen picked Frylinck as his third wicket. From there on it was just formalities and they were completed as Hamid removed Wisese and Namibia played out the 20 overs. Earlier in the day, after winning the toss, Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi decided to bat first and his decision was backed by a good opening partnership by Shahzad and Hzratullah Zazai as they added 53 for the first wicket. While Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran failed, Asghar Afghan who was playing his last game for the country, scored 31 off 23 and with Nabi’s unbeaten 32 off 17 and Shahzad’s important 45, Afghanistan got past 160 at the loss of five wickets. Leg spinner Loftie-Eaton picked two wickets for Namibia and finished with career-best figures of 2/21. Afghanistan will now face India and New Zealand in its next two games which would also be must-wins for them to qualify for the semi-finals. Namibia will take on group leaders Pakistan on Tuesday.

T20 World Cup | Emotional Asghar Afghan receives guard of honour from teammates, Namibia

Mayank Kumar ∙ 31 Oct 2021

T20 World Cup | Emotional Asghar Afghan receives guard of honour from teammates, Namibia

Former Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan, who announced his retirement from the game yesterday was given a guard of honour by both Namibia and Afghanistan on Sunday, 31 October. Both the spectators present at the ground and his teammates left nothing to chance in giving him earnest respect. He was given a guard of honour on two occasions—at the time of entering the ground for batting and while leaving the playing field for the one last time on Sunday afternoon. First, the Namibian side gave him the honour while he came out to bat in the middle and his teammates were the ones to give him an emotional farewell on his way back to the pavilion. Watch video here Asghar could not hold himself back and get emotional on the sense of the occasion. He was asked to explain his decision to retire from the game midway through the T20 World Cup and he got in tears while struggling to explain his mind. Asghar has been one of the chief reasons for the rise of Afghanistan cricket on the world stage. He made his international debut in the year 2004 and has seen their rapid rise from Division 5 in 2008 to qualifying for the 50-over World Cup in 2015 and attaining Full Member status in 2018. He has captained Afghanistan in 115 matches across formats and was the leader of the side in their maiden Test match against India. He has won 42 T20 internationals as the skipper out of 52 matches. As a batsman, he is one of the few batsmen to have scored a century in both ODIs and Tests from the Afghanistan side.

Asghar Afghan announces retirement from international cricket midway through T20 World Cup

Somya Kapoor ∙ 30 Oct 2021

Asghar Afghan announces retirement from international cricket midway through T20 World Cup

Former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan will play his final match on Sunday as the right-hander has announced his retirement from international cricket. Afghanistan will play Namibia in the T20 World Cup fixture on Sunday in Abu Dhabi. “Afghanistan’s ex captain Asghar Afghan who holds the highest winning streak as a captain in T20 internationals surpassing Indian legend Ms Dhoni by one extra win, decides to bid farewell with all formats of cricket in Afghanistan’s third match against Namibia at T20 World Cup,” the Afghanistan Cricket Board tweeted. He has been capped 6 times in Test cricket and notched up a total of 440 runs at an average of 44 while played 114 ODIs where he accumulated 2424 runs, averaging over 24. Apart from this, he had also featured in 74 matches before announcing the retirement and had scored 1351 runs in the format.

T20 World Cup | Burdened with chaos in their backyard, Afghanistan aim to keep focus on 22-yards

Somya Kapoor ∙ 24 Oct 2021

T20 World Cup | Burdened with chaos in their backyard, Afghanistan aim to keep focus on 22-yards

In a short span of time, Afghanistan have displayed the calibre that the side has and they were marching ahead with a zeal when a political turn around in the country changed a lot of things. From witnessing a total chaos in the nation to the future of Afghanistan cricket in a dilemma, a lot was happening. But here they are up for the challenge, probably the biggest till date. The Afghan team will now be up against the big guys in the business in the T20 World Cup. Afghanistan made an automatic qualification to the Super 12s round and now have their work cut out with Pakistan, New Zealand and India in their group. Apart from these formidable sides, Afghanistan will also have Scotland and Namibia in the group. The team comprises some world-class and prominent names in the unit which include the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Asghar Afghan who have been playing a lot of franchise cricket around the globe. Spin maestro Rashid Khan The Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has become one of lethal bowlers in world cricket. The right-arm bowler has the ability to deceive the batters with his spin and wrong-uns. Moreover, Rashid will be coming into the tournament with some recent experience of playing in the UAE as he was a part of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The cash-rich league’s second half of this year’s edition was played in UAE. He had picked up wickets consistently for his IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) during the course of the tournament and also had a good time at the office in the warm-up match against West Indies. Rashid didn’s pick any wickets in this match but returned with an economical spell of 0/14 in three overs as Afghanistan clinched a 56-run victory. Moreover, he is pretty handy with the bat too and can chip in with some runs at a brisk pace at the end of the innings. Can the batters continue form? Afghanistan consist of some of the finest and aggressive batsmen in their ranks. Hazratullah Zazai who played a few games in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year but stamped authority with the bat for Peshawar Zalmi and struck three fifties in five matches that he featured in. The opener then played the two practice matches against South Africa and West Indies before the start of the World Cup. While he failed to open his account against the Proteas, Zazai hammered a 35-ball 56 against the Caribbean side which proved to be instrumental in their dominating win. The wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad also has a bit of a similar story where he was among runs during the T20 matches that he featured in before coming into the tournament. Just like Zazai, Shahzad also failed to trouble the scorers against South Africa but scored a fine half-century against West Indies. Asghar Afghan who is probably one of the most experienced lads in the side hasn’t really had a great time in the recent past in T20s. In the last five matches that he has played in the shorter format, he has only crossed the 20-run mark twice while has a couple of single-digit scores as well which he scored during the two warm-up matches. But with the kind of experience that he has, the Afghanistan side can still bank upon the right-hander to get back in form. The only question here that arises is whether these batters will be able to carry their form against the big guns. Well, the team management and the think tank would surely be dependent on these batsmen to put up a fight with the bat along with the likes of Nabi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran. Banking on the experience Afghanistan would have a lot of dependence on players like Rashid Khan, Nabi and Asghar Afghan. The amount of cricket that these players have played. While they have the ability to unveil some significant performance on the field, they have a lot to offer when the think tank sits to make strategies and plans against the opponents. While Nabi is leading the side in this tournament, both Rashid and Asghar Afghan have the experience of captaincy which would be helpful in making plans on the field. SQUAD: Mohammad Nabi (c), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Naveen ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Hamid Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Fareed Ahmad Malik. Probable XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan Afghanistan will begin the campaign on October 25 against Scotland in Sharjah and will travel to Dubai to lock horns with Pakistan on October 29. The Afghan side will then take on Namibia in Abu Dhabi on October 31 and India and New Zealand on November 3 and 7 respectively at the same venue.

Hashmatullah Shahidi to lead revamped Afghanistan squad in ODI Super League games against Pakistan

Abhishek Singh ∙ 23 July 2021

Hashmatullah Shahidi to lead revamped Afghanistan squad in ODI Super League games against Pakistan

Not one or the but five uncapped players are named in the Afghanistan ODI squad for their Cricket World Cup Super League matches against Pakistan in September this year. The three-match ODI series will take place in September this year when the Pakistan team returns from its West Indies tour. Hashmatullah Shahidi, who struck a double century against Zimbabwe in the two-match Tets series in UAE will lead the team. Earlier this month he was named the ODI and Test skipper of the team with Rashid Khan handling the T20Is captaincy. The uncapped players in the 17 members Afghan squad include Sediq Atal, Shahidullah Kamal, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Abdul Rahman Apart from these, there are three players making a comeback into the squad. It includes batters Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Janat and bowler Ikram Alikhal. Experienced players like Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib and Javed Ahmadi along with youngsters such as Usman Ghani, Yamin Ahmadzai and Sayed Shirzad have been left out of the squad. Afghanistan squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Sediq Atal, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najib Zadran, Ikram Alikhal, Shahid Kamal, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmat Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Naveen Ul Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Noor Ahmad

Rashid Khan gets another bite of the cherry, appointed Afghanistan’s T20I captain

Abhishek Singh ∙ 6 July 2021

Rashid Khan gets another bite of the cherry, appointed Afghanistan’s T20I captain

The International Cricket Council’s T20 cricketer of the Decade awardee Afghanistan sensation, Rashid Khan has been appointed as the captain of the national team in the shortest format. The Afghanistan Cricket Board, in a media release, also confirmed that experienced batter Najibullah Zadran would be Rashid’s deputy. The release also confirmed that ACB Chairman Farhan Yousefzai took the decision to replace Asghar Afghan as the national team’s skipper keeping in mind the upcoming T20 World Cup. Rashid was chosen for the role considering his experience, brilliant performance as well as leadership skills with the National team over the years. Ashgar has also been removed from his role as the team captain in ODIs and Tests too as young batter Hashmatullah Shahidi replaced him in those formats. “As per the decision, left-hander Hashmatullah Shahidi is appointed the new ODI and Test captain of the national team while Rahmat Shah will serve as the vice-captain for both formats,” ACB said in the same release. This is the second time that Khan has been appointed as the captain of the team. The first instance was of the 2019 ODI World Cup when he led the team in England and was later dropped after a dismal outing. The T20 World Cup 2021 would be on the radar of the newly appointed skier where Afghanistan is placed in Group B alongside England, India and South Africa. The other two teams of the group would be decided through the Qualifier round.

Yusuf Pathan among other big players to register for 2nd edition of Lanka Premier League

Aryasekhar Chakraborty ∙ 2 July 2021

Yusuf Pathan among other big players to register for 2nd edition of Lanka Premier League

Former India all-rounder Yusuf Pathan who retired from all forms of cricket earlier this year has registered for the second edition of the Lanka Premier League. A brute of a hitter of the cricket ball, Yusuf Pathan played for the India Legends in the Road Safety World series earlier this year after announcing his retirement. The older of the Pathan brothers, Yusuf will look to find a spot in the competition. His younger brother Irfan Pathan was part of the inaugural edition as he plied his trade for the Kandy Tuskers. Apart from Yusuf Pathan, star Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has also registered for the upcoming edition of the LPL. Several other big names have also registered for the tournament. South African white-ball skipper Temba Bavuma along with two of the South African leading spinners Keshav Maharaja and Tabraiz Shamsi has also registered their names for the competition. Former South African speedster and currently an Australian citizen Morne Morkel has also made himself available for the tournament and will look to find a spot in any of the teams. Among the Australian players, James Faulkner will be one of the most sought after players especially after his brilliance in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL). His Australian mates Ben Dunk, Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson have also registered their names for the event. Like most other T20 leagues across the world, the West Indies players will be a star attraction of the torment with several of them registering their names. "Last year's success has certainly made a difference with more players from many cricket playing countries looking forward to play in the LPL, which is a very good sign for the League and Sri Lanka cricket." SLC Vice President Mr Ravin Wickremaratne was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo. Here are some of the big names from different countries who have registered for this tournament West Indies- Dwayne Smith, Sheldon Cottrell, Nicholas Pooran, Ravi Rampaul, Sherfane Rutherford, Rayad Emrit, Denesh Ramdin, Rovman Powell Bangladesh- Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Liton Das, Mahmudullah India- Yusuf Pathan Australia- James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson, Ben Dunk, Usman Khawaja, Ben Cutting South Africa: JJ Smuts, David Wiese, Morne Morke, Rilee Rossouw, Tabraiz Samsi, Hardus Viljoen, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Keshav Maharaj Pakistan- Harris Sohail, Mohammad Irfan, Sohain Maqsood, Shan Massod, Anwar Ali, Ammad Butt Afghanistan- Naveen Ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Shehzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Qais Ahmad, Usman Shinwari, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran.

Asghar Afghan removed as Afghanistan captain

Somya Kapoor ∙ 1 June 2021

Asghar Afghan removed as Afghanistan captain

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has removed Asghar Afghan as the captain across all the formats after an investigation conducted by ACB's Investigative committee. Hashmatullah Shahidi will now be taking up the Test and ODI captaincy. Rahmat Shah will be his deputy. The call on the T20I captaincy "will be taken soon” while spinner Rashid Khan will continue to be the vice-captain of the team in shorter format. "The decision to remove Asghar Afghan from captaincy was taken based on an investigation conducted by ACB's Investigative committee which concluded that some of Afghan's decisions as the captain of the team resulted in Afghanistan's loss to Zimbabwe in the first Test of the series between both sides in Abu Dhabi in March," ACB said in a release. Afghanistan managed to draw the two-match Test series against Zimbabwe earlier this year in Abu Dhabi. Zimbabwe won the first match by 10 wickets while Afghanistan made a comeback in the second to beat the Zimbabwean team by 6 wickets. They followed it with a 3-0 clean sweep win in the T20Is. Asghar had faced the sacking earlier as well before the start of the 2019 World Cup in England and the captaincy was handed over to Gulbadin Naib under whom the team fared poorly to end up the tournament at the bottom and without a single win. Rashid who was the then skipper of the T20I team was also given the captaincy for the ODIs and Tests before Asghar returned back to lead the side.

Asghar Afghan becomes most successful T20I skipper, overtakes MS Dhoni

Abhishek Singh ∙ 21 Mar 2021

Asghar Afghan becomes most successful T20I skipper, overtakes MS Dhoni

Afghanistan T20I captain Asghar Afghan has become the most successful skipper in the shortest format of the game, winning 42 matches, the most by any skipper in the game’s history. With his latest win, the third T20I against Zimbabwe, he overtook arguably the greatest skipper in World cricket Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India in the category of ‘most wins as a T20I skipper’. Dhoni, 40, who retired from all forms of international cricket last year, had captained India in 72 matches and won 41 of them with a win percentage of 59.28. His last game as T20I skipper was the semi-final of the 2016 T20 World Cup, which took place in India. Afghan, on the other hand, has captained in 52 of the 72 T20Is that he has played for Afghanistan, winning 42 and losing just nine of them. The 33-year-old also has the highest win percentage among all captains from the Test-playing nations. His win percentage of 81.73 is second only to Spanish skipper Christian Munoz-Mills, among players who captained their national side more than or equal to 10 times. The Spaniard has a win percentage of 81.81, having lost just two of his 11 games as skipper. With the 47 runs win against Zimbabwe, Afghanistan also made a clean sweep of the three-match series, having won the previous two games comfortable as well.

Mujeeb Ur-Rahman among five players awaiting visa clearance to join Afghan squad in UAE

Abhishek Singh ∙ 16 Mar 2021

Mujeeb Ur-Rahman among five players awaiting visa clearance to join Afghan squad in UAE

Mystery spinner Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman and all-rounder Gulbadin Naib are among the five Afghanistan players who have not been able to join their T20I side in the United Arab Emirates for the upcoming series against Zimbabwe. According to the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), the board is looking for a resolution as soon as possible. Along with Mujeeb and Naib, fast bowler Hammid Hassan, left-arm wrist spinner Waqar Salamkheil and allrounder Azmatullah Omarzai are the other three members, not being able to join the team. Although Asghar Afghan is already leading a 15-member squad practising in UAE. This batch of players have been in the UAE since the start of the Test series which was drawn by Afghanistan. In the last match, even after a monumental 187 run stand for the ninth wicket by Zimbabwe skipper Sean Willimas and Donald Tiripano, the Afghan team did manage to win the game and square the series having lost the first game by 10 wickets. Afghanistan squad for T20I series: Asghar Afghan (capt), Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Afsar Zazai (wk), Usman Ghani, Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Amir Hamza, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Farid Malik.