Afghanistan announce 19-member squad for T20Is vs India

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced a 19-member squad for the three-match T20I series beginning on January 11 at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali. Star wrist spinner and regular captain Rashid Khan has been included in the squad, however, since he’s recovering from back surgery, he might not feature in any game.

In his place, Ibrahim Zadran, who recently led the side to a 2–1 series win over UAE, will have been once again entrusted with the captaincy duties. The most notable inclusion in the squad is of the off-spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman, who makes a return to the national side after a conflict with the ACB.

Notably, Mujeeb and two other players Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqui had opted out of the central contract to play in the T20 leagues across the globe. However, the ACB imposed sanctions on the trio and revoked their NOC (No Objection Certificate) which led to Mujeeb being dropped from the Melbourne Renegades squad in the Big Bash League 2023-24.

Naveen and Farooqi were included in the T20I squad against UAE as they expressed their desire to play for their country again. After the current squad announcement, it seems Mujeeb has also sought out his differences with the national board.

India and Afghanistan to play first-ever limited-overs series

Ikram Alikhil, a part of the reserves in the UAE series, has been added to the squad as a backup wicketkeeper to Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Apart from him, Mohammad Ishaq, Sediqullah Atal, and Darwish Rasooli who were part of the UAE series, have been dropped.

Notably, it will be the first-ever bilateral limited-overs series between India and Afghanistan, as the two teams have only faced each other in multinational tournaments so far. After the opening T20I in Mohali, the remaining two games will be played on January 14 in Indore and January 17 on Wednesday.

Afghanistan’s Squad: Ibrahim Zadran (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ikram Alikhil (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan.