Dawlat defends sacking of ODI skipper Asghar

Dawlat defends sacking of ODI skipper Asghar

Asghar Afghan

The revamping of leadership roles in Afghanistan ahead of the ODI World Cup evinced strong reactions from senior players. However, chief selector Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai on Tuesday said the issue has been resolved and the team environment is perfect in the lead up to their maiden venture.

The selection committee named Gulbadin Naib as the ODI captain, replacing Asghar Afghan. Rashid Khan, who was named the Twenty20 captain, along with Mohammad Nabi, took to social media to criticise the decision taken days before the World Cup, beginning May 30, in England.

“It was the decision of the top management, keeping the betterment of the team in mind, not individuals. We can't win the World Cup with Asghar, or with Gulbadin. But it's a great opportunity to promote a young captain, we have to go for the transition phase,” Ahmadzai said during a function to announce Amul's association with Afghanistan national team.

“They (Rashid and Nabi) felt it was not the right time to change captaincy but later understood that it was in the best interest of the team. We handled it very professionally. Gulbadin is not a new man, he has been playing for 17 years with the team and he's a good friend of Nabi and Asghar. The team environment is perfect.”

Ahmadzai said Afghanistan are eyeing a semifinal spot in England. The team, who made their World Cup debut in 2015, camped in South Africa for preparations. “In 2015, there was no Rashid or Mujeeb. So we are expecting a lot and looking for semifinals spot in the World Cup. “

Spin is Afghanistan’s strong point, but Ahmadzai denied they were overdependent on it. "Hamid Hasan is back into the fast bowling attack, that is a big boost. He will lead the pace attack alongside Dawlat Zadran. Two things are required for the team to perform well: selection and preparation. We have been working on that for the past six months. We have played in Scotland and South Africa, we feel the preparation is complete,” he said.

"We have a well-balanced team. Rashid has done well in county cricket, Mujeeb can use the new ball and we have potent fast bowlers who can exploit English conditions."

Meanwhile, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman said he has recovered from his shoulder injury which affected his performance in the 2019 Indian Premier League. The 18-year-old said he learnt a lot from his Kings XI Punjab captain and seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

“He (Ashwin) has given me a lot of useful tips and I am sure that I will execute those plans in the World Cup. The IPL schedule is so hectic and you don't get a chance to talk about the game. But since you get a chance to bowl in matches where there are batsmen who will be there in the World Cup, it helps a lot,” he said.

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