ICC World Cup, Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka: Afghanistan’s predicted XI against Sri Lanka - Asghar Afghan could return
Afghanistan offered a surprise just a month before the World Cup. Asghar Afghan was unceremoniously dropped as the captain and Gulbadin Naib was given the position in his stead. Under Afghan’s captaincy, Afghanistan had won a series over Ireland, defeated Sri Lanka at the Asia Cup, and also managed to pull off a tie against India in the ODIs.
During this time period, Afghan also became the second cricketer from the country to play 100 ODIs. But despite his plaudits, his captaincy stint was cut short just after 11 months.
The decision to remove Afghan received criticism from senior players including Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan and Afghanistan selectors had to issue an explanation for making the move.
After a poor string of results in the pre-World Cup matches, Afghan was also dropped from the playing XI in the opening World Cup game against Australia last week. Afghanistan’s batting crumbled against Australia’s fast bowling and the side was bundled out for 207.
Now, facing off against Sri Lanka in their second game against Sri Lanka on Wednesday, Afghanistan could likely go back to the experience of Afghan, who would not only provide a good batting option in the middle-order, but will also give Naib a man on the field he could rely on for advices during crucial situations. After all, the captain had himself confessed that he is looking towards Afghan for advice on the field.
“Asghar Afghan is still my captain. We played our last few games against Ireland and Scotland, and he helped me a lot. He guided me. He’s not just another player for me, he’s still my captain right now,” Naib had told the ICC on Captains Day.
Hashmatullah Shahidi, who scored just 18 runs in 34 balls against Australia, could make way for Afghan in the team.
Here is Afghanistan’s predicted XI for the match against Sri Lanka:
Mohammad Shahzad( w), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (c), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hamid Hassan