Photo Credit: Afghanistan Cricket Board
The Afghanistan Cricket Board’s National Selection Committee has finalized the Afghanistan National Team’s Squad for the one-off test match against Sri Lanka that is scheduled to be played from February 2-6 at the Sinhalese Sports Club Cricket Ground in Colombo.
Rashid Khan continues to recover from the back surgery and is set to miss the one-off test match. Meanwhile, the leg-spinning bowling all-rounder Qais Ahmad has been included in the squad as his replacement. In addition, Noor Ali Zadran has been selected based on his recent promising performances in domestic competitions.
Naveed Zadran, a right-arm quick, and Mohammad Ishaq, a wicket-keeper batter, have earned maiden call-ups to the Senior Test Team. Both have put on some impressive performances during last year’s Ahmad Shah Abdali First Class and the recently held Ghazi Amanullah Khan Regional List A Tournament, as well as during AfghanAbdalyan’s Tour of Oman in October last year.
ACB Chairman Mirwais Ashraf is excited about the team’s first test match against Sri Lanka. “It’s quite pleasing to be playing our first test against Sri Lanka, who have a rich history of playing test-match cricket. The year 2024 is packed with test cricket for us, as we will be playing several test matches during the year. Same as our white-ball lineups, we are committed to strengthening our red-ball cricket and building a formidable test side as well.”
Ahmad Shah Sulimankhil, the newly appointed interim Chief Selector: “The team underwent a two-week preparation camp in Nangarhar followed by a 10-day conditioning camp in Abu Dhabi, which featured all the support staff to work with the players and ensure full preparation for the series. We have thoroughly monitored the camps and have picked the squad which includes several new faces who have excelled well during the recent domestic events.”
Afghanistan Squad for the one-off test against Sri Lanka: Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Rahmat Shah (VC), Ikram Alikhail (WK), Mohammad Ishaq (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Abdul Malik, Baheer Shah, Nasir Jamal, Qais Ahmad, Zahir Khan, Zia Ur Rehman Akbar, Yamin Ahmadzai, Nijat Masoud, Mohammad Saleem Safi and Naveed Zadran.
This will be Afghanistan’s 8th overall test match and its first against Sri Lanka. The one-off test match against Sri Lanka will be followed by 6 more test matches this year, including a two-test home series against Bangladesh and a one-off home test against New Zealand. Afghanistan has previously won three test matches each against Ireland (2019), Bangladesh (2019), and Zimbabwe (2021).
Etisalat Afghanistan Telecommunication Company and Super Cola Beverages Manufacturing Group of Companies have secured the sponsorship rights of the Afghanistan National Team for the all-format series against Sri Lanka.