Rashid Khan Age, Biography, career, stats, networth, Ranking & News

Rashid Khan

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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Afghanistan T20 World Cup Squad 2021, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

Afghanistan is placed currently on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. The above-mentioned players will have a big responsibility on their back.

There was a question mark over the participation of Afghanistan in the ICC T20 World Cup after the Taliban takeover in the country. However, reports have emerged that the team will definitely participate in the tournament. The seventh edition of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is all set to commence from October 17.

Meanwhile, the summit clash will take place on November 14. Notably, the tournament was scheduled to begin in India. The ICC later shifted it to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and OMAN due to the Covid-19 scare in India.

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Afghanistan. Credits: Twitter

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan Quit As Skipper After Squad Was Announced

Notably, minnows and relative newcomers in the international arena, Afghanistan has never won an ICC T20 World Cup Trophy and never even made it to the finals of the marquee event. However, under the leadership of Mohammad Nabi, they will be hoping for a better outcome in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021. Notably, Team Afghanistan made an entry in the Super 12s of the marquee event through direct qualification.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is placed in Group 2 of ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Alongside India, New Zealand, and Pakistan they will be joined by 2 other teams from the qualifier stage.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Meanwhile, there was a lot of chaos during the announcement of the squad as the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 World Cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy.

Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team. Rashid Khan decided to step down from captaincy after the spinner claimed that his “consent” was not obtained before announcing the squad for ICC men’s T20 World Cup slated to be played in UAE and Oman.

Afghanistan’s Squad For The Upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

Afghanistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)
Afghanistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Nabi ( C ), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Naveen ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Qais Ahmad. Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Fareed Ahmad

Star leg spinner Rashid Khan will spearhead the attack and has been joined by fellow all-rounders Mohammad Nabi and Sharafuddin Ashraf in the squad. Front-line spinners Qais Ahmad and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are also included in the Afghanistan roster for the tournament.

The Complete schedule of Afghanistan for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

25 October 2021: vs Qualifier (B1), Sharjah (07:30 PM IST)

29 October  2021: vs Pakistan, Dubai (7:30 PM IST)

31 October 2021: vs Qualifier (A2), Abu Dhabi (3:30 PM IST)

3 November 2021: vs India, Abu Dhabi (07:30 PM IST)

7 November 2021: vs New Zealand, Abu Dhabi (03:30 PM IST)

IPL 2021 will is scheduled from April 9 to May 30 [Credits: IPL]
IPL 2021 will is scheduled from April 9 to May 30 [Credits: IPL]
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T20 Cricket: 5 New Rules Which Can Make T20s More Interesting

T20 cricket is now watched eagerly across the globe as the shortest format has generated a lot of interest. The game of cricket has evolved vastly over the years. There was a time when 5 days of Test cricket was probably the only thing that happened. Then came the 50 overs ODI and the 20 overs T20I format which made the cricket on-lookers experience the fresh breeze blowing. With the inception of T20 cricket, the game became even more athletic.

T20 cricket made people ponder then so as to how cricket can be played in such a short span of 20 overs. But then came the T10 league that further shortened the format. With T20s, the approach of the game witnessed a shift. The batters came in with innovative shots whereas bowlers introduced more variations. The Hundred (100 balls) and T10 leagues (10 overs) have generated a lot of interest but T20s were the first thing that saw edge-of-the-seat thrillers and generated revenues.

The IPL further garnered the audacity of the T20 cricket format as its pace and entertainment fetched in a large chunk of the audience to watch the games. It is probably the most celebrated format now with fans yearning to watch the action unfold. But T20 cricket can be more interesting if some rules are changed.

IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)
IPL Trophy. (BCCI/IPL Photo)

T20 Cricket: 5 New Rules Which Can Make T20s More Interesting

1. 8 runs for sixes over 100 meters

Chris Gayle Image Source : IPLT20.COM
Chris Gayle Image Source: IPLT20.COM

The T20 cricket matches carry a tag of being entertaining and full of action-packed performances. With the likes of power hitters like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, AB de Villiers to name a few, big hits are always in the scenario. Often the power that these players generate whilst hitting the shots leaves many in awe of their strength.

Big sixes aren’t a rare sight in T20 cricket and often the ball is out of the stadium. So the thought of rewarding the batters with much more than just 6 runs for their effort of hitting it big will do wonders to the individual player and team. Hitting the ball over 100 meters requires immense strength in T20 cricket and the ones who can do it must be provided with some advantage. So giving eight runs instead of six to a maximum that goes over 100 meters could be a new rule that adds to the fascination of the T20 cricket format.

Maybe one can think of bringing it in the franchise leagues in the first place. If that happens, the team with hard hitters will benefit. It will take the target of the side to an even more challenging total for the opposition to chase. In case the team batting first had struggled initially to get in runs, if their attacking batters are able to send the ball out of the stands it might help the team to chip in some necessary runs.

2. More Than 4 Overs For A Bowler

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The format is shorter but it demands the players to challenge themselves even more. By tuning out all the distractions, they have to find the shelf of possibilities to take the team past the total or put a commanding target on board. It thus becomes the game of calculation, wherein the batters decide their targets.

They play out the tough bowlers and then design their approach in such a way that they then take on the part-timers and the less fancied ones. A batter has the opportunity to play an entire inning when in form, but when it comes to the bowlers, they have just four overs to bowl.

However, a tweak in the quota of the bowlers can be made. If the number of overs is increased, the bowler who is having a good day will make most of it and the team will be gifted with more important breakthroughs. This will scrape off the tension of the skipper in case one of his prime bowlers is having a bad day.

The batters will then have to face more balls from the lethal in form bowlers and that would test their abilities in T20 cricket. This move can provide more challenges to the batters and will produce furthermore compelling contests for the fans. The batsman will have to go big against the prime bowlers and that would exude more competition and build excitement around the matches.

Bowlers like pacer Jasprit Bumrah of Mumbai Indians or spinner Rashid Khan of Sunrisers Hyderabad can bowl more than 4 overs if this rule comes to effect in T20 cricket thus worrying the opposition.

3. Player Replacement In The 2nd Half Of T20s

Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence
Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence in Big Bash League (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

This rule was brought in by Cricket Australia in the recent edition of the Big Bash League. As per the rule, the teams will be allowed to make use of one ‘X’ factor player after the 10th over of the ongoing match.

The ‘X’ factor player can only replace a player who hasn’t been quite active in the game. Thus, on the batting side, he can replace a batter who hasn’t taken the charge of the field. And from the bowling side, the replacement will come for a bowler who hasn’t bowled more than an over. If this rule is considered in the bigger picture, it might sometimes change the fortunes of the game upside down.

For instance, after playing a few overs on the field, if the team realizes that a certain player who isn’t in the playing XI can be crucial whilst the conditions, they can rope in him. It takes no time for the game to turn around completely in T20 cricket. The substitution of the player at times can have an immediate impact on the game.

If the team is in trouble they can get in an extra batsman and put a respectable total on the board. On the other hand, with the bowlers, it will provide an extra option for the side. The teams will have the opportunity to bring in an extra spinner or pacer depending on the surface and the condition. The anticipation that the substitute will bring on the 22 yards will keep the fans etched to the match to see if he changes the things around.

Super Substitute was a rule that was in existence in 2005, for ODI cricket but was scrapped within a year of its introduction. So, this rule says that a team can select a player and nominate him as the SuperSub before the toss. And, during the game, they can substitute the Super Sub, with another player in the playing XI.

4. 5 Penalty Runs For Slow Over Rate

IPL Franchises' Skippers
IPL Franchises’ Skippers

There have been talks on the issue of slow over-rate since always. To complete the innings in the fixed time is what is expected of the teams. Often it doesn’t go that way as the teams exceed the time and are then fined for the same in T20 cricket. But imposing fines on the cricketers particularly captains necessarily doesn’t solve the concern.

Instead, if 5 penalty runs are added to the opposing team’s total, then it might create a greater impact and a convincing solution. In the shorter format, even a single run can decide the outcome of the match. The teams strive hard on the field to save runs. Probably a run saved in the T20 cricket format is a run scored. And thus if this ruling comes to the forefront, the teams will put their thinking hats on the seriousness of following the time.

This will make the teams more conscious about the pre-set marks and they might follow them more effectively. A fine might not hurt the players the way these penalty runs would. It can then go on to affect the match’s outcome.

An over rate in cricket is generally defined as the number of overs bowled in an hour (60 minutes). In the general run of things, an over-rate in the range of 13-15 is considered to be an apt one for it allows the match to move at a fast pace.  To further curb fielding captains regarding over rates, the authorities have reduced the mandatory time of completing an IPL inning to 90 minutes in IPL 2021.

Therefore, starting from tonight in IPL 2021, fielding captains will have to ensure that they bowl their 20 overs within a 90-minute period. Technically, the time for a fielding side to bowl 20 overs in 85 minutes as an IPL innings comprises a couple of strategic timeouts (combined duration of five minutes).

5. The Golden Over

AB de Villiers played an unbeaten 75-run knock against the Delhi Capitals [P/C: iplt20.com]
AB de Villiers played an unbeaten 75-run knock against the Delhi Capitals [P/C: iplt20.com]

If one aims to add even more thrill to the T20 cricket, another rule that probably sneaks in is the golden over. Under this, the team can avail one over from the match wherein the runs scored in that particular over will count double, including the extras. The batting team will have to decide on that over before their innings start.

This creates a lot more enthusiasm as the fans will probably be waiting for that over to start. The batting team will have an unsaid pressure of delivering in this over. The over will be of utmost importance as if the side is able to smash big and pile up good runs, it will take them in a better position in the match. It would equally be challenging as well because the opposition will make sure that their best bowler takes the run-up in this case.

This tussle between the two teams in T20 cricket might produce a good fight as both sides will be keen on seizing the moment. If it is in the case of a chase, the batters on the field can calculate their innings and think of fetching in maximum runs from the over as it will get doubled.

In the T20 cricket matches where a single delivery changes the fate of the game, a Golden Over can pretty much do wonders by further increasing the anticipation of the fans. In franchise cricket leagues which attracts a lot of audiences already, such a ruling can add to the plethora of anticipation of the leagues.

In a first for a major T20 cricket competition, the Big Bash League introduced three major rule changes in the 2020/21 season: the Power Surge (the usual six-over powerplay split into four overs at the start of an innings and a floating block of two for the batting team to call in the second half of the innings), the Bash Boost (a bonus point for the team with the higher ten-over score) and X-factor replacements (the option to bring in a substitute player after ten overs of the match).

Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
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ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

ICC T20I World Cup 2021 is just a month away from taking place after a gap of five years and the excitement for the tournament in UAE is at its’ peak already. The previous edition took place in 2016 when West Indies emerged as the champions and this will be a 12 team affair this time around for the group stages.

The top eight teams from the T20 international rankings qualified automatically for the league stages of the T20 Worldcup while the remaining four teams will have to make it through the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 qualifiers. Surprisingly, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh haven’t been able to make it to the league stages and are placed in the qualifiers. Here are 4 teams that won’t be able to qualify for the semi-finals of ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Probably Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

Australia:

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty

Australia is one of the powerhouses in world cricket at present for a long time now and they still continue to dominate best teams but haven’t been doing it on a consistent basis. But recent losses to West Indies and Bangladesh with a depleted squad saw their reputation diminish.

When it comes to T20 cricket, Australia hasn’t always been the team to watch out for as they do have a lot of stars in their lineup but despite that, they have lacked the T20 flavour. 2010 was the only year they reached the finals of the ICC T20I World Cup and they lost to England.

Australia’s recent form in T20I hasn’t been impressive either as they lost the T20I series in West Indies 4-1 and lost a bilateral series for the first time against Bangladesh which wasn’t the ideal preparation they needed. Australia has been placed in a strong group comprising of England, West Indies, and South Africa and their chances of making it to the semifinals look bleak at the moment.

Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh. With the return of big names like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, and Pat Cummins the Aaron Finch-led side will be looking forward to gaining back the momentum.

South Africa:

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

South Africa has lacked the edge needed in the knockouts to progress to the finals of the tournament and it has been evident through their results so far in ICC events. They haven’t made it to a final in ICC T20 World Cup yet and have been succumbing down when it comes to pressure games for which they are labelled chokers.

The Proteas are a different looking side now without AB De Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and their new skipper Temba Bavuma will have a huge responsibility under his belt for the T20I World Cup. Their bowling attack does look good but they are expected to struggle with their inexperienced batting lineup and are unlikely to progress to the semi-finals after being placed in a tough group.

They are currently placed on the 5th spot in ICC T20 Internationals rankings. Also in the last 5 T20 international series, they have lost 3 series. They have some exceptionally talented players like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassi Van Der Dussen, and David Miller on the team but have left out experienced Chris Morris, Faf du Plessis, and Imran Tahir.

Afghanistan :

Afghanistan
Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been one of the teams that have come from far behind in terms of development and the results are there to see as well. They have produced a lot of young match winners already and the best example is Rashid Khan who has been the best spinner in the world in the last two years globally.

Afghanistan has picked up a good squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 but they have a lot of issues going on with the Taliban government and it will certainly take a toll on their performance. They have gone in for experience in the fast bowling department and Rashid Khan has stepped out as the captain of the side as well for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021. With India and New Zealand in the group, Afghanistan might not be able to progress to the semi-finals.

Currently, Afghanistan is placed on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 world cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy. Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team.

Pakistan:

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan is looking like a better group in the last few international series and with the change in the coaching staff and the Director, a lot could change for the Pakistan side ahead of the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

However, their recent performances haven’t been up to the mark especially in England and they still have holes to fill inside the group. Lead by captain Babar Azam, Pakistan will kickstart their ICC T20I World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals India in Dubai on 24 October.

They will then face New Zealand in Sharjah on 26 October before returning to Dubai to take on Afghanistan. Their last two matches in the Super 12 stages will see them face runners-up of Group A and table-toppers of Group B from Round 1 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah respectively.

Their middle order needed some solid experience and they have gone in for youngsters who had failed earlier. Their fast bowling and spin department don’t look bad either but they still do not like getting past New Zealand and India who have strong depth in their squads for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Pakistan chose youth over experience for the backup wicketkeeper spot with the inclusion of Azam Khan over Sarfaraz Ahmed. Azam Khan has featured in only three T20Is in his career and has aggregated only six runs in two innings but his exploits in domestic T20 competitions has helped him seal a berth in the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 World Cup, having last played a T20I for Pakistan earlier this year against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively.

They did not find a place in the squad for the tours of England and the West Indies. The experienced campaigners Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, and Sarfaraz Ahmed surprisingly didn’t find a place in ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Tim Paine. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Tim Paine. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
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Asghar Afghan Slams Tim Paine’s Statements Of Boycotting Afghanistan

Asghar Afghan, the former Afghanistan captain slammed Australian Test captain Tim Paine for his ‘all teams should boycott’ comments at Afghanistan team ahead of the forthcoming T20 World Cup 2021, set to start from October 17 in Oman and UAE.

With the state of Afghanistan in political turmoil and the Taliban not in support of women’s cricket, Tim Paine had stated that the current teams would not love to play against a country that is taking off opportunities from half of their population. Tim Paine also asserted that there’s no word from the apex body ICC on the matter.

Asghar Afghan
Asghar Afghan. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Asghar Afghan Slams Tim Paine’s Statements Of Boycotting Afghanistan

After coming across Tim Paine’s harsh comments, dejected Asghar Afghan slammed the Aussie Test skipper and urged all nations to support Afghanistan and its national team.

“I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking opportunities or things off literally half their population,” Paine told on SEN radio

“We’ve heard nothing from the ICC, which is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in just over a month’s time. I’d imagine it’s impossible (for Afghanistan to take part) if teams are pulling out of playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores. How a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see,” he had said.

Tim Paine went a step further and stated that countries might consider boycotting playing against Afghanistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“It’s (boycott) something that teams will discuss on the eve of that World Cup”.

Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)
Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)

Tim Paine, Australia Test captain said the chances of its first-ever test against Afghanistan going ahead are “not looking good” with the Taliban unwilling to let women play cricket and questioned why the game’s governing body had remained quiet on the issue.

Australia is due to face the Afghanistan men’s team in Hobart from November 27 but Cricket Australia said on Thursday it would not host the side if reports that women’s cricket would not be supported in the war-torn country were substantiated.

Asghar Afghan Appeals To All Nations To Support Afghanistan And Asks Tim Paine To Refrain From Aggressive Statements To Isolate Afghanistan

After coming across the comments, Asghar Afghan urged Tim Paine to refrain from giving such statements and appealed to all nations to support Afghanistan and its national team. He also stated that Tim Paine made his statement without knowing the actual circumstances.

“Mr. Paine! The Afghan National Cricket Team has the right to play not only in this World Cup but in all ICC organized tournaments/events in accordance with the rules and regulations of ICC, and I’m sure that our brave National Heroes will perform their best in it and showcase their elite Talents Inshallah.

As a Sportsperson and Professional Cricketer you know that it require too much of hard work and dedication to reach this level of Cricket. For a less privileged Cricketing Nation as Afghanistan with zero infrastructure and support reaching where we are right now and playing shoulder to shoulder with top 10 countries require sheer determination, passion and talent,” said Asghar Afghan.

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Afghanistan. Credits: Twitter

“Therefore, you should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan Cricket. Cricket is now the No#1 Sport in Afghanistan and is being followed by nearly 30 million Afghans,” said Asghar Afghan.

He added, “This shows, either you are unaware of the circumstances or talking out of contradiction; in any case you are mistreating Afghan Cricket and all the gains we have obtained with hardship in the past decade. (Sports should be separated from politics)”

Afghanistan named its T20 World Cup squad on Thursday with Rashid Khan as the skipper, but the star spinner immediately resigned from captaincy, stating he was not consulted before picking the 15-member side. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has been named Afghanistan skipper for the upcoming T20 World Cup after star spinner Rashid Khan stepped down from captaincy protesting the selection of the national squad without his inputs.

Afghanistan T20 Squad: Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmed  Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Farid Ahmed Malik

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
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Mohammad Nabi Is Set To Lead Afghanistan In 2021 T20I World Cup After Rashid Khan Stepped Down

Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s all-rounder is set to take the captaincy of Afghanistan for the upcoming T20 World Cup after skipper Rashid Khan stepped down from the role on Thursday.

Rashid Khan decided to step down from captaincy after the spinner claimed that his “consent” was not obtained before announcing the squad for ICC men’s T20 World Cup slated to be played in UAE and Oman.

Mohammad Nabi (File)
Mohammad Nabi (File)

Mohammad Nabi To Lead Afghanistan As Rashid Khan Stepped Down As Skipper After The Squad Was Named

Mohammad Nabi, who had earlier captained Afghanistan, will be now lead the side. Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Thursday announced the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Minutes after the announcement, Rashid Khan said the selection committee and ACB didn’t obtain his consent for the team.

“As the captain and responsible person for the nation, I reserve the right to be part of the selection of the team. The selection committee and ACB has not obtained my consent for the team which has been announced by ACB media,” Rashid said in a statement on Twitter.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

“I am taking the decision of stepping down from the role as the captain of Afghanistan T20 side effective immediately. It’s Always my proud playing for Afghanistan,” he added.

In the squad, wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad was also named in the squad. Afasr Zazai and Farid Ahmad Malik were included as the two reserve players.

Afghanistan T20 Squad: Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmed  Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Farid Ahmed Malik

Cricket Australia May Scrap One-Off Test Against Afghanistan As Taliban Banned Women From Playing Cricket In Its Earlier Regime

Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has been named Afghanistan skipper for the upcoming T20 World Cup after star spinner Rashid Khan stepped down from captaincy protesting the selection of the national squad without his inputs. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is yet to officially announce Mohammad Nabi’s appointment as captain but the 36-year-old all-rounder tweeted that he has been chosen to lead the team.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. Afghanistan has been in turmoil following the takeover of the country by the Taliban. Soon after forming the interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any others sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well.

Cricket Australia (CA) all but confirmed on Thursday that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27, will be scrapped due to the Taliban’s order.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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Azizullah Fazli Confirmed ACB Planning A Preparatory Camp For Afghanistan Players For T20I World Cup

Azizullah Fazli, the new chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed that the ACB is planning a preparatory camp for the national team in a foreign country.

Soon after the Taliban took over the reins of Afghanistan, the country’s premier cricketers — Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi — took to Twitter seeking support from the world leaders.  The cricketers made the emotional appeal from the United Kingdom, where they were playing for their respective franchises in the inaugural ‘The Hundred’ tournament.

Newly appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Azizullah Fazli
Newly appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Azizullah Fazli (Photo | YouTube screengrab)

Azizullah Fazli Assured Afghanistan Cricketers That The Country Is Secure

Azizullah Fazli, the new chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), however, affirmed that they spoke to these cricketers and gave them assurance that the country is safe.

“We have spoken to those players who were worried about the political situation in Afghanistan. We have assured them regarding the current situation and that the country is secure. Now, they are in a good mood,”Azizullah Fazli told this daily in a reply to a questionnaire sent to him on Tuesday.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. Image Credits: Twitter

He also confirmed that the ACB is planning a preparatory camp for the national team in a foreign country.

“We will have a camp for the Afghanistan cricket team in a foreign country to ensure they will be well prepared for the T20 World Cup commencing in October in UAE and Oman,” said Azizullah Fazli

The political upheaval in the country also led to speculations over Afghanistan cricketers’ participation in the Indian Premier League resuming next month. The ACB chairman assured that their cricketers will participate in the IPL as usual. Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, and Mujeeb-ur Rahman are some of the Afghanistan players who are regular features in IPL teams.

Rashid Khan is one of the most sought-after T20 freelancers in world cricket currently. Both Mohammed Nabi and Rashid Khan have urged the world leaders to intervene as Afghanistan faces its worst socio-political crisis in the last two decades.

Azizullah Fazli Asserted Afghanistan And Pakistan Series Will Be Played In 2022

Afghanistan was scheduled to play their first bilateral series against Pakistan in Hambantota, Sri Lanka starting next month. The three-match ODI series, however, was postponed on Monday.

“Due to the overall conditions including the mental health of the players, we had to postpone the series,” ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari was quoted as saying.

Afghanistan vs Pakistan , AFP File Photo
Afghanistan vs Pakistan, AFP File Photo

Azizullah Fazli also asserted that the series will be played next year.

“Both the teams will play the series in 2022. The venue has not been finalized yet.”

Speaking on his role as ACB chairman and the plans ahead, he said, “After the Afghanistan Islamic Emirate took control of the country, they decided to look for the right and deserving person to lead the cricket board. Finally, they appointed me as the chairman.”

“It has to be mentioned here that I have worked for Afghanistan cricket development for nearly two decades. It’s my first week on the job and we are already on our way to organize Shpageeza Tournament, a local T20 league being organized by the board. I hope we will continue doing the good work,” Fazli signed off.

Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan has been postponed indefinitely after talks between the two boards concluded that logistical challenges were making it tough for the Afghanistan contingent to travel to Sri Lanka and the situation in Afghanistan would not have left their players in a good mental space. The PCB also tweeted that both boards will try to reschedule the series for 2022.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Hamid Shinwari confirmed that they tried to move the series to Pakistan, but eventually decided to postpone the series considering the situation around Afghanistan.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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Afghanistan Pacer Naveen-ul-Haq Feels Fear In The Eyes Of His Country’s Common People After Taliban Takeover

Afghanistan’s top cricketers prepare for their next tour in Sri Lanka against Pakistan– just a few days after the country fell to the Taliban militants. The crack of the bat on the ball echoes around Kabul’s International Stadium.

The calm of the empty stadium is a surreal contrast to scenes just a few kilometres north, where tens of thousands of Afghans common mass at Kabul airport are desperately trying to flee on evacuation flights.

Afghanistan's national cricket team started training in Kabul for their next tour just days after the capital fell to the Taliban
Afghanistan’s national cricket team started training in Kabul for their next tour just days after the capital fell to the Taliban @AFP

Afghanistan Pacer Naveen-ul-Haq Feels Fear In The Eyes Of Afghanistan’s Common People

Following the stunning victory of the hardline Islamists, many of the players in cricket-mad Afghanistan’s beloved national team are finding it difficult to focus on sport.

“The fear is there in their eyes, in their voices, even in their messages,” pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq said of his teammates in Kabul during a BBC radio interview broadcast at the weekend.

The Kabul International Cricket Ground is just a few kilometers from the Afghan capital’s airport, where tens of thousands are desperately trying to flee on evacuation flights to countries safer than Afghanistan.

“The Taliban have said (they) won’t be troubling any sportsman, but nobody knows,” added Naveen-ul-Haq, speaking from the West Indies where he plays in the Caribbean Premier League.

The return of the Taliban has sparked widespread fear in Afghanistan and in the international community, reviving memories of their brutal first stint in power from 1996 to 2001 when they imposed a harsh version of Islamic law torturing the common people, especially women.

They banned most forms of entertainment — including many sports — and stadiums doubled as public execution venues. Sports the Taliban did allow were strictly controlled and were for only for men to play and watch.

Naveen ul Haq Image Credit- Social Media
Naveen ul Haq Image Credit- Social Media

Cricket was not among the sports the Taliban banned during their first regime. They did not mind cricket, however, and the game born centuries ago on the playing fields of England is popular among Taliban fighters too. That has done little to ease the fears of many players, for whom the fall of the country is about a lot more than the sport.

“I appeal to the leaders of the world; please don’t let Afghanistan go into chaos,” former national captain Mohammad Nabi tweeted days before the fall of Kabul, as the Taliban were rapidly capturing territory.

“We need your support. We want peace.”

Cricket was barely known in the nation until the early 2000s, and its explosive rise in popularity was linked with conflict — the sport was picked up in Pakistan by Afghan refugees who then seeded it in their home country. Cricket’s popularity exploded in Afghanistan during the last 20 years.

But the national team has enjoyed a meteoric rise on the international scene since then, gaining coveted Test status in 2017 and now ranked among the top-10 sides in the world in the one-day and Twenty20 formats. In the last 20 years, it has also emerged as a powerful symbol of national unity in a country riven by civil war and ethnic conflict.

“If you find positive news, if you see people happy together, it’s only cricket… that brings it to the country. It’s that important to Afghanistan,” Haq told the BBC.

“It’s more than a game for Afghanistan’s people.”

Afghanistan’s cricket team has also emerged as a powerful symbol of national unity in recent years. That connection with national identity was visible on Afghanistan’s independence day — August 19, less than a week after the fall of Kabul. Afghan cricketers marked it by tweeting pictures and emojis of the tri-color national flag, which the Taliban have replaced with their white banner in areas under their control.

All-rounder Samiullah Shinwari had earlier tweeted a photo with the date of the Taliban takeover of Kabul — August 15 — and the words: “The day Afghans lost their country and the whole world just watched.”

For the Afghan players currently outside the country, there are fears for their loved ones back home. Youths play cricket near the site of the Bamiyan Buddha statues, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan Is Worried About His Family

The family of Rashid Khan — Afghanistan’s biggest cricket star — can’t leave the country, according to former England star Kevin Pietersen, who spoke to him last week during a tournament in Britain.

“We had a long chat here on the boundary talking about it and (Khan) is worried: he can’t get his family out of Afghanistan,” Pietersen told Sky Sports.

There are positive signs too. On Sunday, the Afghanistan Cricket Board tweeted pictures of its newly reappointed chairman to indicate it would be business as usual.

Despite the uncertainty, Afghanistan’s cricket authorities have said their upcoming series against Pakistan, to be played in Sri Lanka, will go ahead. Cricket was picked up in Pakistan by Afghan refugees who then seeded it in their home country. With no commercial flights operating from Afghanistan, an official said the team would drive to Pakistan and fly out from there.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

But even for those who are able to play away from Afghanistan, such as Naveen-ul-Haq in the West Indies, the images from home are difficult to ignore.

“You forget about it for a minute or two to focus on cricket but it jumps into your mind again,” he told the BBC.

“I can’t say that I will be fully focused on playing only cricket because you can’t when you see your country like that.”

Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, and Mujeeb-ur Rahman are some of the Afghanistan players who are regular features in IPL teams. Rashid Khan is one of the most sought-after T20 freelancers in world cricket currently. Both Mohammed Nabi and Rashid Khan have urged the world leaders to intervene as Afghanistan faces its worst socio-political crisis in the last two decades.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul (Image Credit: AP)
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)
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Ex-Afghanistan Cricketer Abdullah Mazari Accompanies Taliban To Afghanistan Cricket Board Headquarters

Abdullah Mazari, former Afghanistan cricketer accompanied Taliban fighters to the Afghanistan Cricket Board headquarters in Kabul. Abdullah Mazari played two ODIs for Afghanistan in 2010. Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) president Hamid Shinwari has maintained that there is no threat to the game even though the Taliban has taken over the capital city of Kabul.

However, uncertainty is looming large around the future of Afghanistan cricket and its players. In a picture doing rounds on social media, it can be seen that the Taliban has entered ACB headquarters in Kabul. Interestingly, the Taliban fighters were accompanied by former Afghanistan cricketer Abdullah Mazari.

 Taliban enter Afghanistan Cricket Board headquarters in company of ex-cricketer Abdullah Mazari (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
Taliban enter Afghanistan Cricket Board headquarters in company of ex-cricketer Abdullah Mazari (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Abdullah Mazari Accompanies Taliban To Afghanistan Cricket Board Headquarters

Hamid Shinwari on Monday said that the sport will not suffer in the war-ravaged country as the Taliban loves and supports cricket. He also said that Afghan cricketers and their families are safe.

“Taliban loves cricket. They have supported us since the beginning. They did not interfere in our activities. I don’t see any interference and expect support so that our cricket can move forward.”

“We have got an active chairman, I remain CEO until further notice. It can be said that cricket flourished during the Taliban era. It is also a fact that many of our players practiced in Peshawar and they made the sport mainstream in Afghanistan,” Shinwari was quoted as saying by PTI.

Abdullah Mazari, Afghanistan cricket team
Abdullah Mazari. [photo: Twitter]
Afghanistan has been in turmoil since the Taliban’s resurgence and eventual take over of Kabul which happened on August 15. Thousands have crowded Kabul airport in hopes of being airlifted from the country while women across the nation have expressed fear of the Taliban considering how they brutally suppressed women’s rights in their previous reign.

Abdullah Mazari is an Afghan cricket player. A left-handed batsman and left-arm orthodox spin bowler, he has played for the Afghanistan national cricket team in 2 ODIs scoring 3 runs and picking 2 scalps. In August 2021, he accompanied the Taliban fighters to reach the headquarters of the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

Hamid Shinwari: Afghanistan Will Play  3 ODIs Against Pakistan In Sri Lanka

Hamid Shinwari, head of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, said that the team will be playing a series against Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in two weeks, and are also good to go for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Hamid Shinwari
ACB president Hamid Shinwari. Credits: Twitter

Sri Lanka’s cricket board earlier this week said it was still hoping to host Afghanistan and Pakistan for the three matches in an empty stadium at Hambantota. The one-day international series starts on September 3. It was shifted to Sri Lanka after stadiums in the United Arab Emirates – where Afghanistan plays their home matches – were instead preparing to host the Indian Premier League.

Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, and Mujeeb-ur Rahman are some of the Afghanistan star players who are regular features in IPL teams. Rashid Khan is one of the most sought-after T20 freelancers in world cricket currently. Both Mohammed Nabi and Rashid have urged the world leaders to intervene as Afghanistan faces its worst socio-political crisis in the last two decades.

Cricket was registered with the Afghanistan sports committee during the time when the Taliban was ruling Afghanistan (from 1996 to 2001). With the Taliban being there, things will be better from the Afghanistan Cricket Board leadership point of view.

For the last two years, the chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (Farhan Yousufzai) was running the ACB from London. He was not coming to the office and appointed people with poor cricket experience in administration. For the last two to three years, there was no proper domestic cricket in Afghanistan. The domestic cricket structure was in shambles. Cricket will only go up in Afghanistan now according to former Afghanistan cricketer Khaliqdad Noori.

Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
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Afghanistan Ready To Play T20I World Cup 2021 And Series Against Pakistan: Hamid Shinwari

Hamid Shinwari, head of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, said that the team will be playing a series against Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in two weeks, and are also good to go for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Following the collapse of the government at the weekend, Hamid Shinwari, CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), on Friday said that the team is once again preparing for their one-day series against Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in two weeks.

Hamid Shinwari
ACB president Hamid Shinwari. Credits: Twitter

Hamid Shinwari: Afghanistan Ready To Play Series Against Pakistan And T20I World Cup 2021

Afghanistan Cricket Board has made it clear that the team will be ready for action when the 2021 T20 World Cup gets underway in Dubai. With an eye on the current turmoil in Afghanistan, questions have been raised on whether the team will be ready to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“We will be playing a series vs Pakistan, we are also good to go for the T20 World Cup,” said Shinwari.

Sri Lanka’s cricket board earlier this week said it was still hoping to host Afghanistan and Pakistan for the three matches in an empty stadium at Hambantota. The one-day international series starts on September 3.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan

It was shifted to Sri Lanka after stadiums in the United Arab Emirates – where Afghanistan plays their home matches – were instead preparing to host the Indian Premier League.

“With BCCI and other boards, we have a really good relationship. ICC is also in touch with us. They are keeping a close track. As of now, there is no problem with cricket,” said Shinwari.

Chaos has broken out at Kabul airport this week as tens of thousands of Afghans try to flee the militants, who swept through the country largely unopposed by government security forces. The sport was tightly controlled by the Islamic fundamentalist group during their first rule of the country in the 1990s, often viewed by the militants as a distraction from religious duties.

Hamid Shinwari: Cricket Wasn’t An Issue During The Taliban Regime

Women were completely banned from taking part. However, Hamid Shinwari said he saw no threats to cricket from the movement.

“Cricket was not an issue during the Taliban regime before and it will not be an issue now. I don’t remember any incident caused by the Taliban over cricket,” he said.

Hamid Shinwari said he was unable to comment on the status of women’s cricket but the situation would be clearer in the coming weeks.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, and Mujeeb-ur Rahman are some of the Afghanistan players who are regular features in IPL teams. Rashid Khan is one of the most sought-after T20 freelancers in world cricket currently. Both Mohammed Nabi and Rashid have urged the world leaders to intervene as Afghanistan faces its worst socio-political crisis in the last two decades.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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ICC Is In Constant Touch With Afghanistan Cricket Board(ACB) Over Taliban Issue

International Cricket Council (ICC) also has an eye on the Taliban matter as the world watches the situation in Afghanistan unfold as armed militants have forcefully taken over the country and entered the capital Kabul. The ICC office in Dubai is in constant touch with the members of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in Kabul to “fully understand the impact of changes” happening in the country.

One of the biggest challenges in front of ACB could be the sustenance of women’s cricket in the country — something which has gone from strength to strength in recent times. In 2020, 25 female players were awarded central contracts for the first time, thus clearing the deck for the formation of a national women’s team. Skill-based camps were organized to further the efforts.

 Afghanistan cricketers are safe, the country's board president assured (Reuters Photo)
Afghanistan cricketers are safe, the country’s board president assured (Reuters Photo)

International Cricket Council (ICC) Is In Constant Touch With Afghanistan Cricket Board As Situations Worsen In Afghanistan For Taliban’ Forceful Takeover

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is apprised of the developments in Afghanistan — where the Taliban’s sudden and forceful takeover has sent the country into chaos and misery — and is in touch with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), monitoring the developments in Kabul.

“That was a massive development. We don’t know what now,” said a source in ICC women’s cricket.

ACB acknowledges that being a full member of the ICC, it is “required to have a national women’s team of its own” but there’s a lot of uncertainty around what will come of their efforts in the time to come.

“I have not heard from the ICC on what is happening as far as women’s cricket in Afghanistan,” said Lisa Sthalekar, a member of ICC Women’s Cricket Committee, “but personally I am concerned about what is happening there.”

Afghanistan Cricket Board
Afghanistan Cricket Board. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Despite the cataclysmic geopolitical changes, the country’s cricket community is hopeful of the game’s future.

“Cricket in Afghanistan began from refugee camps and we have come a long way. With very limited resources, we climbed our way up to full membership,” Shafiqullah Stanikzai, former CEO of ACB under whom Afghanistan had attained full membership of the ICC in 2017, told Cricbuzz.

“I hope and pray that cricket in Afghanistan continues to grow. For us, it is beyond a sport, a game. Cricket has given us an identity making the image of Afghans around the world optimistic. Through cricket, we convinced the global community to invest in our talent and in Afghan youth. I hope this continues.”

It was earlier reported that changes are in motion at the top of the hierarchy in cricket too, with Azizullah Fazli set to replace current board chairman Farhan Yousefzai, who is understood to be out of the country.

Afghanistan Focusing On The Pakistan Series: ACB Spokesperson

But a forced change in a board’s administration could attract the attention of the apex board ICC which wants all its boards to be autonomous and free of government interference.

“For the moment we are focusing on the Pakistan series. We are confident it will happen. If it does not, due to reasons not relevant to us, we could advance the dates of Shpageeza Cricket League (the domestic league),” ACB spokesperson Hikmat Hasan said.

“The squad (for the Pakistan series) is already out. The coaches trained the players in Kabul for one month. We are well prepared for the matches in Sri Lanka and the Twenty20 World Cup in UAE. Our head coach Lance Klusener was in Kabul till Eid. We have recruited Shaun Tait as bowling coach and he will be joining the squad in Sri Lanka,” Hikmat further added.

ICC-International Cricket Council , AFP File Photo
ICC-International Cricket Council, AFP File Photo

Cricket will not be a casualty in the wake of drastic political change in Afghanistan, assured country’s cricket board CEO Hamid Shinwari, saying the Taliban “love” and “support” the game.

Speaking from Kabul, Hamid Shinwari also assured that the members of the national team and their families are safe as the Taliban took over the reins of the country. Star players including Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are playing in the UK in the ‘Hundred’ tournament.

Cricket’s rise in the country coincided with the Taliban’s rule between 1996 and 2001 with many Afghan refugees in neighbouring Pakistan picking up the sport.

Afghanistan Cricket has made 8 changes to their ODI squad ahead of the ODI series against Pakistan in September 2021. The new players are Sediq Atal, Shahidullah Kamal, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Abdul Rahman in a 17-member squad while Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Janat, and Ikram Alikhal are making their comeback.

The likes of Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib, Javed Ahmadi, Usman Ghani, Yamin Ahmadzai, and Sayed Shirzad have been dropped.

Afghanistan squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Sediq Atal, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najib Zadran, Ikram Alikhal, Shahid Kamal, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmat Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Naveen Ul Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Noor Ahmad

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