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Four newcomers in Afghan Test squad

by malinga
February 1, 2024 1:10 am 0 comment

Afghanistan’s cricket team led by Hashmatullah Shahidi arrived on Tuesday, with their first training session held yesterday morning at SSC grounds where the one-off Test match will start tomorrow.

Following the solitary Test match at SSC, the tour also includes three ODIs at Pallekele and three T20Is at Dambulla.

Afghanistan named their squad for the one-off Test match against Sri Lanka, packed with new players.

Senior Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan will miss the Test match as he still recovering from a back surgery. Qais Ahmed, whose only Test came five years ago, has been named in the squad in place of Rashid.

Additionally, four uncapped players are in the squad: Noor Ali Zadran, Zia-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Ishaq and Naveed Zadran. Afghanistan’s last Test was in June 2023, when they lost to Bangladesh by a huge margin. This will be their eighth Test match. However, Afghanistan has already performed well in white-ball formats and is ready to give a good fight against Sri Lanka in their one and only Test match at SSC grounds.

Both skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah the deputy skipper are two experienced players of the side.

Noor Ali, related to Mujeeb ur Rahman and Ibrahim Zadran, is the most experienced of the four Test freshers with 74 international caps to his name in ODIs and T20Is. The 35-year-old is yet to make his Test debut. He, however, made his ODI debut as early as 2009, in Afghanistan’s first-ever ODI.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka team is expected to play this Test match under their new Test captain Dhananjaya de Silva, the 18th Test captain of Sri Lanka. After the successful Test leadership of Dimuth Karunaratne Dhananjaya faces a big challenge this year with Sri Lanka scheduled to play ten Test matches starting from this Afghanistan Test. Three former skippers Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dimuth Karunaratne, are in the Sri Lanka Test squad and Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama are the other batsmen on the side.

Asitha Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha and newcomers Chamika Gunasekara and Milan Ratnayake are in the 16-member squad. Ramesh Mendis the off spinner and leg spinner Prabath Jayasuriya are the regular spinners of the side. Lahiru Udara and Nishan Madushka the wicket keeper batsman are also fighting to enter the final eleven.

Afghanistan Test squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Ibrahim Zadran, Abdul Malik, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah (V.Capt), Bahir Shah, Nasir Jamal, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Ishaq (wk), Qais Ahmad, Zia-ur-Rehman, Zahir Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Nijat Masood, Mohammad Saleem and Naveed Zadran.

Dhammika Ratnaweera

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