It has been a tumultuous time for Afghanistan as a nation ever since the Taliban took over the reigns. The cascading effects are alarming and beginning to show signs on their cricket system.
Leg-spinner Rashid Khan stunned the cricket world on Thursday evening when he relinquished his leadership duties. The decision came minutes after Afghanistan’s T20 WC squad was announced.
Now reports have emerged that Taliban-appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief Azizullah Fazli’s decision to pick some ‘unfit and indisciplined’ in the T20 World Cup squad has led Khan to take such a drastic step.
CricBuzz quoted an ACB official who admitted that the leg-spinner’s decision is justified as Fazli did things ‘forcefully’. The official said that Fazli completely ignored the meritocracy and fitness standards of some individuals while picking the 18-men squad.
“He [Rashid] was not happy with the squad because too many old guys have been picked. When he saw the squad, he was angry and he stepped down,” said an ACB spokesperson.
“Our acting chairman did all things forcefully. Rashid was angry that why selection criteria of fitness, performance and discipline were not considered.”
Khan announced his decision to step down from the captaincy via a scathing note on Twitter.
“As the captain and responsible person for the nation, I deserve the right to be part of the selection of the team. The selection committee and ACB has not obtained my consent for the team which has been announced by ACB media. I am taking the decision of stepping down from the role as captain of the Afghanistan T20 side effective immediately,” Rashid said announcing his resignation on his official Twitter handle.
It is believed that Rashid wasn’t happy with the selections of Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Shahzad and also Hashmatullah Shahidi.
‘We will present a great picture of the nation in the upcoming T20 WC’- Mohammad Nabi
Meanwhile, Mohammad Nabi has been appointed as the new skipper, the official confirmed.
“Now he (Rashid) will not lead the side. All this happened within a few hours, the announcement of the squad, stepping down of Rashid and the appointment of Mohammed Nabi as new captain.”
Nabi himself took to his Twitter account to express his gratitude towards the Afghanistan board for giving him the opportunity to lead the national team.
“At this critical stage, I admire the decision of the ACB for the announcement of leading the National Cricket Team in T20 Format. Insha Allah together we will present a great picture of the Nation in the upcoming T20 WC.”
Afghanistan have been clubbed alongside Asian giants India and Pakistan in Group 2 of the T20 WC. They begin their campaign in Sharjah on October 25 against the top-ranked side from Group B of the Qualifiers.
Group B comprises of Bangladesh, Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea.