Afghanistan pick four spinners for Asia Cup
Afghanistan have picked three specialist spinners - a legspinner, a mystery spinner and a left-arm spinner - in their squad of 17 for the Asia Cup to be held in the UAE later this month.
Sharafuddin Ashraf, the left-arm spinner, is among just two new additions - uncapped wicketkeeper Munir Ahmad being the other - to the squad that beat Ireland in the ODI series last week. Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran misses out.
Sharafuddin has featured in 14 ODIs so far, the last of which came at the World Cup Qualifiers in March this year. He has also played six T20Is. In all, he has 17 top-flight international wickets.
This is a maiden call-up for Munir Ahmad, who has been picked as a second wicketkeeper, an understudy to Mohammad Shahzad, the hard-hitting opening batsman.
Ashraf aside, Afghanistan's spin arsenal boasts of Rashid and Mujeeb, who have emerged richer in experience through county stints in England earlier this year apart from featuring in the IPL. Both of them also featured in the country's maiden Test in India. They can also call upon a fourth option in offspinner allrounder Mohammad Nabi if needed.
The squad is captained by Asghar Afghan, who along with Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Ihshanullah Jannat, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi makes up the top order. In addition to Nabi, they have a second allrounder in Gulbadin Naib, capable of bowling handy seam-ups. Aftab Alam, Sayed Shirzad and Wafadar constitute their pace attack.
Squad for Asia Cup: Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Asghar Afghan(c), Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Ihsanullah Janat, Sayed Shirzad, Wafadar, Munir Ahmad Kakar