The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Saturday (January 2) announced a 16-member squad for the 3-match ODI series against Ireland starting January 18th. The matches were earlier scheduled to be played in Abu Dhabi at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. But due to visa issues, the series is shifted to the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat, Oman.
The Ireland team have landed in Abu Dhabi in order to prepare for the series, which is a part of the International Cricket Council’s World Cup Super League. But the Asghar Afghan-led players are facing difficulties to practice. The ACB had organized a training camp in Nangarhar for the players, however, the practice sessions were disrupted frequently due to unviable weather conditions.
”We could not have a good preparation for the last few days because the weather is not good in Afghanistan as here it is very cold,” when asked about the preparation of the players. We tried our best to select the best available squad. The side is very balanced as we included some youngsters along with the seniors,” Raees Ahmadzai, ACB’s director of cricket told Cricbuzz.
Afghanistan players to return from Big Bash League
Some of the members of the Afghanistan squad are currently playing in the Big Bash League in Australia. However, Ahmadzai has confirmed that those players will return for the ODI series against Ireland. Since the series is part of the World Cup Super League, which is a qualifying route for the 2023 World Cup, the ACB denied the players to opt-out of the matches.
Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi are playing for Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Renegades respectively in the BBL 10. The 3 ODI will be played on January 18, 21, and 23 – hence they will miss the playoffs of the BBL considering a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Australia.
Afghanistan squad: Asghar Afghan(C), Rahmat Shah, Nawin-Ul-Haq, Hashmat Shahidi, Yamin Ahmadzai, Osman Ghani, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahmanullah Gurboz, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Najib Zadran, Jawed Ahmadi, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbuddin Naib, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sharafuddin Ashraf.
— Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) January 2, 2021