Kabul: Afghanistan have announced a strong 17-member squad with three reserve players for the home series against Pakistan that begins this week in Sharjah.
Rashid Khan will lead a side that has some familiar names, including former skipper Mohammad Nabi, for the three-match T20I series. However, senior batters Rahmat Shah and Hazratullah Zazai have been dropped from the squad.
The 37-year-old Nabi, who stepped down as captain after the 2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup, was recalled to the squad, the ICC reported.
Nabi was dropped for the series against UAE where the ODI mainstay Rahmat Shah earned a call-up to the T20I side. However, Shah was dropped from the squad for the Pakistan series without making his T20I debut.
“Our team has been working hard in training camp and selectors have selected the best available players for the series," Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Naseeb Khan said.
"I am confident that our team will perform at their best and make our nation proud. We wish our team the best of luck for the series and hope to see them emerge victorious."
Nabi, a veteran of 104 T20Is, returns to the squad. Qais Ahmad, Darwish Rasooli and Mohammad Saleem, who were part of the UAE series, do not feature in the squad.
The series, marked to be the first multi-match bilateral series between these sides, will begin on March 24.
"We look forward to an exciting competition between two great teams. Both nations have passionate fans who support their teams with enthusiasm and pride," Naseeb Khan said.
"As neighbors, we have a special bond and we hope to showcase not only our cricketing skills but also the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship."
Afghanistan Squad: Rashid Khan (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Sediqullah Atal, Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Fareed Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen Ul Haq.
Reserve players: Nangyal Kharoti, Zahir Khan and Nijat Masoud. (UNI)