Afghanistan Gears Up for Sri Lanka T20Is with Mix of Young Guns and Veterans, Eyes on World Cup

Dambulla, Sri Lanka: Aiming to build a balanced squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, Afghanistan has announced a 16-member squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka starting on February 17th. The series, held at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, will see a mix of established stars and exciting young talents taking the field.

Key Players Out, Opportunities for Others

The squad announcement comes with its share of challenges for Afghanistan. Regular skipper Rashid Khan remains sidelined due to back surgery, and spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman misses out with a hand injury sustained during the ongoing ODI series. Young pacer Mohammad Saleem Safi also misses out due to a hamstring strain.

Wafadar Momand Earns Recall, Bench Strength Being Tested 

To address these absences, the selectors have brought in 24-year-old seamer Wafadar Momand. Momand, who has played two Tests and one T20I for Afghanistan, last represented his country in July 2023. His experience will be crucial in bolstering the bowling attack.

Afghanistan chief selector Ahmad Shah emphasised the team’s focus on building a World Cup-ready squad. “We have a close sight on the upcoming T20 World Cup,” Shah said, “and this series is a good opportunity to test our bench strength and finalize a good squad.”

Ibrahim Zadran Leads the Young Brigade

In Rashid Khan’s absence, Ibrahim Zadran will continue to lead the side. The 22-year-old batsman had an impressive outing in the recently concluded tri-series against Pakistan and New Zealand, showcasing his leadership potential.

The squad also features exciting young talents like Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, and Noor Ahmad. These players will have a chance to impress and stake their claim for a spot in the World Cup squad.

Series to Provide Valuable Insights

The T20I series against Sri Lanka will be a crucial testing ground for Afghanistan as they strive to find the right balance for the World Cup. With a mix of experienced players and rising stars, the team is eager to showcase its potential and gain valuable insights ahead of the marquee event.

Fans can expect an exciting series filled with thrilling cricket as both teams vie for supremacy. The young Afghan brigade, under Zadran’s leadership, will be determined to prove their mettle, while Sri Lanka will look to capitalize on home advantage and continue their winning momentum.

Afghanistan Squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka: Ibrahim Zadran (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Mohammad Ishaq Rahimi (WK), Hazratullah Zazai,  Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Wafadar Momand and Qais Ahmad.

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