Afghanistan have called up uncapped 18-year-old batsman Ihsanullah for their upcoming Intercontinental Cup fixture against Netherlands. Ihsanullah led the Afghanistan Under-19 squad in the U19 World Cup held in Bangladesh earlier this year and had also performed well in the 2014 edition in UAE.
Afghanistan selectors decided to select a full-strength team for the ODIs against Scotland and Ireland in July, ahead of the Intercontinental Cup match – 12 of the 16 members of the squad have played the World T20 in India earlier this year, whereas batsman Javed Ahmadi and allrounder Rahmat Shah were also picked in the squad.
Ahmadi’s last played an ODI against England during the 2015 World Cup, while Rahmat hasn’t played in the 50-over format since July 2014. The squad also includes medium-pacer Mirwais Ashraf and fast bowler Yamin Ahmadzai, both of them were part of the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in December-January.
One of the most important omissions from both teams is middle-order batsman Nawroz Mangal, who happens to be Ihsanullah’s older brother. Both teams will be captained by Asghar Stanikzai.
Medium pacer Ashraf has also been included in the 14-member squad for the fixture against Netherlands alongside former Under-19 captain Nasir Jamal. Ashraf didn’t play the Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia in April this year, while Jamal’s only first-class outing for Afghanistan was in August 2014. Jamal last made his international appearance in the 2015 World Cup game against England.
Ihsanullah has scored 294 runs in 12 Youth ODIs and all his matches were in the Under-19 World Cup. In 2014, he notched 175 runs across 6 games at an average of 35 with one fifty. However, return to the 2016 edition of the competition were poorer – 119 runs in 6 games at an average of 19.83. Under Ihsanullah’s captaincy, Afghanistan remained third in Group B, behind Pakistan and Sri Lanka and their only victory came against Canada.
Afghanistan’s tour starts on July 4 in the first of the two ODIs against Scotland in Edinburgh. The five-match ODI series against Ireland will be played between July 10 and 19 in Belfast before they travel to Voorburg for their four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture, which will begin from July 29. Afghanistan are third in the Intercontinental Cup points table after 3 matches, with two wins and a draw. They defeated Namibia by an innings and 36 runs in their previous match in the tournament, which was played in India.
Afghanistan ODI squad: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran, Amir Hamza, Yamin Ahmadzai. Reserve players: Nasir Jamal, Imran Janat, Afsar Zazai
Afghanistan Intercontinental Cup squad: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Ihsanullah, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Zahir Khan, Mirwais Ashraf, Nasir Jamal, Dawlat Zadran, Sayed Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai. Reserve players: Javed Ahmadi, Abdullah Adil, Afsar Zazai