Afghanistan’s Karim Janat returns to ODIs after six years in Asia Cup squad. Sharafuddin Ashraf also back. Squad led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, boasts spin prowess. Campaign begins against Bangladesh on September 3.
In a surprising move, allrounder Karim Janat is set to make a long-awaited comeback to the One Day International (ODI) format for Afghanistan after an interval of over six years. The Afghan cricket board announced his inclusion in the 17-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup. The squad also features the return of left-arm spin-bowling allrounder Sharafuddin Ashraf, who last represented Afghanistan in August 2022.
Janat’s previous and only ODI appearance dates back to February 2017, when Afghanistan faced Zimbabwe. However, he has maintained an active role in the T20I side, having showcased remarkable performances, including a memorable hat-trick against Bangladesh in July. Moreover, earlier this year, Janat marked his Test debut, contributing to Afghanistan’s evolving cricket journey.
The squad for the Asia Cup includes familiar faces such as Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Ibrahim Zadran at the top of the order. The team boasts an array of spin-bowling options, with Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf, and the promising Noor Ahmad. Despite not participating in the recent ODI series against Pakistan, Noor Ahmad has been recognized as a rising star in Afghan cricket, having showcased his talent in various global franchise leagues. He has previously represented his country in three ODIs. Spearheading the pace attack will be Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Injury-related changes affected the composition of the squad that played against Pakistan. Notably, Najibullah Zadran, who missed the ODI series against Pakistan due to a knee injury, is also set to make a return. On the other hand, Wafadar Momand, Azmatullah Omarzai, and Shahidullah were left out of the Asia Cup squad. Omarzai, recovering from a side strain that forced him to miss the third ODI against Pakistan, was replaced by Gulbadin Naib. Shahidullah, who replaced Najibullah, did not find a spot in the final selection.
Hashmatullah Shahidi will lead Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, which kicks off on September 3 in Lahore. The team finds itself in Group B and will commence their campaign against Bangladesh. The inclusion of seasoned players alongside talented emerging stars indicates Afghanistan’s determination to make a significant impact in the tournament.
Afghanistan Squad for Asia Cup: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Abdul Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Fazalhaq Farooqi