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Afghanistan name spin-heavy squad for historic India Test

New Delhi, May 29: The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Tuesday announced a spin-heavy 16-member squad led by skipper Asghar Stanikzai for the historic one-off Test against India, starting on June 14 in Bengaluru.
The squad comprises five spinners in Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan and left-arm spinner Hamza Kotak, who incidentally emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded first-class competition.

Rashid and Mujeeb had fruitful campaigns in the Indian Premier League 2018 (IPL) playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab respectively.
Rashid picked up 21 wickets in 17 matches and was also the architect behind SRH’s road to the final which they lost to eventual champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Sunday.

Mujeeb too shone well with the ball, grabbing 14 wickets in 11 matches before a hand injury he sustained in a game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ruled him out of the remaining matches.

Chinaman bowler, Zahir Khan, was also a part of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, although his campaign never took off, as a shoulder injury he suffered in a practice game, forced him out of the tournament.

Another notable inclusion in the squad has been that of the 18-year old pace sensation Wafadar Momand. In Dawlat Zadran’s absence, the selectors went for the promising pacer, Wafadar.

Syed Sherzad and Yamin Ahmadzai are the other main pacers in the set-up. Mohammad Shahzad will don the gloves, with Afsar Zazai being included as the back-up wicketkeeper.

The likes of Rahmat Shah, Stanikzai and the experienced all-rounder Nabi will shoulder the responsibility in the batting department.

The selectors also named the squad for the three T20Is against Bangladesh, beginning on June 3 in Dehradun. Two new faces in Najib Tarakai, who last played for Afghanistan against Ireland in 2017 and Darwish Rasooli found a place in the squad. IANS

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Ankur Kalita