World Cup 2019: Afghanistan’s chief selector justifies the decision to replace Asghar Afghan with Naib as captain
The decision was, criticized by fans as well as senior players Mohammad Nabi and new T20I captain Rashid Khan.
Updated - May 8, 2019 2:18 pm
Afghanistan cricket fans and the cricket world was shocked when the national team selectors decided to drop Asghar Afghan as captain in all three formats of international cricket and replace him. Gulbadin Naib was chosen to lead the ODI team for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019. The decision was, however, criticized by senior players Mohammad Nabi and new T20I captain Rashid Khan. Rahmat Shah was named the Test captain.
Asghar Afghan has played 99 ODIs for Afghanistan and the team has won more than 30 games under his leadership, including the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe last year and their first Test win against Ireland also came under his captaincy. On the other hand, Naib has appeared in just 52 One-Day Internationals.
Afghanistan’s chief selector Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai defends the decision
However, the chief selector has defended the decision of removing Afghan as captain, despite him leading the team to ODI series wins over Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and captaining them in their first ever Test match against India in 2018.
“It was a decision that came from the top management of the Afghanistan Cricket Board. The fact is that Afghanistan is not going to win the World Cup with either (Naib or Afghan) of the captains. We are looking to make a transition and planning for the next World Cup which will be four years down the line. We don’t get as many games against quality opposition like we will get in the World Cup, so the new captain’s planning will begin here,” Ahmadzai was quoted as saying by CricketNext.
“The matter has been handled very professionally. Gulbadin has been playing for the last 17 years and he is great friends with Nabi and Rashid. The seniors will be supporting the new captain,” he further said.
Ahmadzai further mentioned that Rashid Khan turned down the opportunity of leading the team in all the three formats and highlighted Naib’s captaincy experience, saying, “Gulbadin has been captain before, for his club side and his state side in first-class cricket. He was also U-19 captain. He has been with the team for the last six months and been playing in the practice games. So, it’s not that he has been out of touch of cricket.”