Globe-trotter Qais Ahmed picked in Afghanistan’s World Cup squad


Uncapped fast bowler Mohammad Saleem has made it to Afghanistan’s 15-player squad for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November. He is among three call-ups for the tournament, the others being legspinner Qais Ahmad and batter Darwish Rasooli.
Saleem had finished joint-sixth in the Shpageeza Cricket League, Afghanistan’s domestic T20 tournament, with 11 wickets for Boost Defenders at an impressive economy rate of 6.63. Qais, a globe-trotting T20 specialist, had topped the wicket-takers’ list in that tournament, with 14 wickets in eight outings at an economy of 6.35. Qais has plied his trade in Australia’s Big Bash League, the Caribbean Premier League, the Lanka Premier League and England’s T20 Blast. Most recently, he was signed by Gulf Giants for the inaugural edition of the International League T20 to be played in the UAE next January.

Rasooli had played only two games for Amo Sharks in the Shpageeza Cricket League, but in those two he smacked 41 not out off 19 and 51 off 30.

While Saleem is yet to debut in international cricket, Qais and Rasooli have played a handful of games for Afghanistan. Qais has debuted across all three formats, but his last game for Afghanistan was on the tour of Bangladesh in March. The last of Rasooli’s four T20Is was on the tour of Zimbabwe in June.

Afghanistan’s chief selector Noor Malikzai said of the new faces: “Fortunately Darwish Rasooli has recovered from injury – a broken finger – and we are happy to have him available for the T20 World Cup. He has demonstrated good glimpses of [what he can do] in the previously held Shpageeza Cricket League 2022, and offers an additional batting option to our middle order.

“Since the Australian conditions are fast-bowling friendly, so we have added [Mohammad] Saleem, a tall right-arm quick, to add further impetus to our bowling department.”

From the squad that played that tournament, Samiullah Shinwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Karim Janat, Noor Ahmad and Afsar Zazai miss out. Zazai is one of four reserves named for the T20 World Cup, alongside Sharafuddin Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah.

Afghanistan have already made it to the main round of the T20 World Cup, where they are grouped alongside hosts Australia, England, New Zealand and two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers. They kick off their tournament against England in Perth on October 22. The top two teams from each of the two groups will contest the semi-finals, before the final on November 13.

T20 World Cup squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Qais Ahmad, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi (capt), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ibrahim Zadran, Darwish Rasooli, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Saleem, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Rashid Khan
Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah
In: Darwish Rasooli, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmed
Out: Samiullah Shinwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Karim Janat, Noor Ahmad, Afsar Zazai (named in reserves)



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