Afghanistan has become the most recent team to announce the name of the 15 players who will be on that flight to England for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. The all-important 50-overs quadrennial event will be kicking off with an opening game between hosts England and South Africa on May 30 in London. While the winners of the qualifiers, Afghanistan will be starting their World Cup campaign against Australia on June 1 in Bristol.
Hamid Hassan makes a dream comeback
The biggest headlining point from the squad announcement is the inclusion of Hamid Hassan. The pacer will be making a comeback in the national team after a long time gap of nearly three years. He last played for Afghanistan long way back in 2016 against Ireland and since then he has been struggling a lot with injuries. In 33 ODI matches played so far, Hamid has scalped a total of 59 wickets at an impressive average of 19.63 and was also part of the Afghanistan team which played the 2015 World Cup, ending with eight wickets to his name.
"Luckily for us, the comeback of senior Fast bowler Hamid Hassan is good news. However, we will take into account his form and fitness during upcoming practice matches," said Dawat Khan Ahmadzai, the chief selector.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board was subject to severe criticism by the two mainstay cricketers, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, both of whom who clearly flaked the board’s decision to snatch away the captaincy from Asghar Afghan, However, despite the severe criticism, Gulbadin Naib will lead the Afghanistan team in the upcoming mega event in England.
The likes of Zahir Khan, Ikram Alikhil, Karim Janat, Sayed Shirzad, Javed Ahmadi, Shapoor Zadran and Fareed Malik, who were part of the national squad during the recent limited-overs series against Ireland, have been dropped from the World Cup team. Although, the trio of Ikram, Janat and Shirzad have been included as reserve players.
"The final decision has been made based on many facts and considerations. I would like to thank all those who continue to support our national heroes," Ahmadzai inferred.
The likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran and Asghar Afghan are the key member in the batting department in the World Cup team. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi are the three frontline spinners, while the trio of Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam and Hamid Hassan will handle the major fast bowling duties.
"As chief selector, It is my duty to select a competitive team. However, there were some challenges that we needed to handle. We selected the best squad considering factors such as experience, fitness, team balance, current form and conditions. We hope to play great cricket without any fear and with a fighting spirit in the tournament," the chief selector concluded.
Afghanistan 15-member squad for the 2019 World Cup
Gulbadin Naib (C), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.