Afghanistan’s cricket team announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, set to kick off on Saturday, February 17, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium. Leading the team in the absence of regular skipper Rashid Khan, who is recuperating from back surgery, is Ibrahim Zadran.
However, the squad faces challenges with spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman sidelined due to a hand injury sustained before the ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka. Additionally, Mohammad Saleem Safi, a promising 21-year-old seamer, has been ruled out due to a hamstring strain after making his debut in the recent T20I against India.
To fill the gaps, 24-year-old right-arm seamer Wafadar Momand has been called up as Safi’s replacement. Although Momand has limited international experience, having played two Tests and one T20I for Afghanistan, he last represented his country in July 2023 during the second T20I against Bangladesh.
Ahmad Shah, Afghanistan’s chief selector, emphasized the board’s strategy of balancing senior and junior players in the squad. This move aims to assess the team’s depth and groom younger talent ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024.
The series against Sri Lanka presents an opportunity for Afghanistan to test their bench strength and fine-tune their lineup. With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, the team is keen to optimize its resources and build a competitive squad capable of challenging the best in the world.
Despite the setbacks caused by injuries, Afghanistan remains determined to showcase their talent and continue their upward trajectory in international cricket. As they gear up for the series against Sri Lanka, the team is focused on delivering strong performances and laying the groundwork for success in the future.
Afghanistan Squad for the 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka:
Ibrahim Zadran (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Mohammad Ishaq Rahimi (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Wafadar Momand and Qais Ahmad