Asghar Afghan has been removed as Afghanistan captain just one and a half months before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with Gulbadin Naib appointed as the skipper. (Image credit: Afghanistan Cricket Board Twitter)
The Afghanistan Cricket Board has announced a surprising decision with just over one and a half months to go for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with Asghar Afghan, who led the side for four years after taking over the captaincy from Mohammad Nabi in 2015, being replaced by Gulbadin Naib. This, in effect, means Naib will lead the Afghanistan cricket team for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which will be held in England starting from May 30. Taking to the official Twitter handle of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, the organisation in a press conference announced these details on their timeline.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced split captaincy for all three formats, with Naib being the ODI captain and Rashid Khan being the vice-captain. In the Twenty20 format, Rashid will be the captain while Shafiqullah Shinwari will be the vice-captain. In Tests, Rahmat Shah, who played a starring role in the game against Ireland in Dehradun, has been appointed as the new skipper with Hashmat Shahidi the new vice-captain.
The move to replace Asghar Afghan is indeed surprising considering the amount of success he has had as captain. His major contribution was in Afghanistan winning the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier tournament in 2018 which was held in Zimbabwe. Afghanistan defeated West Indies in the final as they sealed their spots for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Asghar Afghan, who was earlier known as Asghar Stanikzai, captained in 56 matches and secured wins in 33 games.
ACB Selection Committee announced changes in team Afghanistan's leadership across formats as follows.— Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) April 5, 2019
- @GbNaib Captain
- @rashidkhan_19 V. Captain
- @rashidkhan_19 Captain
- @shafaqshinwarai V. Captain
- @RahmatShah_08 Captain
- @Hashmat_50 V.Captain pic.twitter.com/zRRvwgtKFF
For Naib, who has played 52 ODIs, this will be the first time that he will captain Afghanistan any format. The departure of Asghar Afghan marks the end of a wonderful period when he helped Afghanistan to many memorable victories. In the one-off Test against Ireland at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Dehradun, Rahmat Shah’s 98 and 76 along with Asghar Afghan’s 67, which included six fours and four sixes, helped Afghanistan create history by winning their first-ever Test by seven wickets.
Afghanistan has still not announced their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 squad. The side, who won a game in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup by beating Scotland by one wicket at the University Oval in Dunedin, will open their World Cup campaign against five-time champions Australia at Bristol on June 1.