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Afghanistan 2019 Cricket World Cup squad: Key players, fixtures, prediction, odds and more

Jack Watson

Afghanistan have pledged to play “inspirational cricket” during the World Cup, but their preparation has been far from encouraging.

Asghar Afghan was named in the 15-man squad after being controversially stripped of the captaincy in the build-up to the tournament.

Afghanistan’s most high-profile player, Rashid Khan, said the change in captaincy two months before the World Cup will damage morale when “highly instrumental” Afghan was replaced as one-day captain by 28-year-old Gulbadin Naib.

With Afghan as captain, Afghanistan impressed in the 2018 Asia Cup, beating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the group stage before holding India in a tie.

Fixtures

  • Australia, Saturday 1 June, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • Sri Lanka, Tuesday 4 June, Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
  • New Zealand, Saturday 8 June, County Ground Taunton, Taunton
  • South Africa, Saturday 15 June, Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
  • England, Tuesday 18 June, Old Trafford, Manchester
  • India, Saturday 22 June, Hampshire Bowl, Southampton
  • Bangladesh, Monday 24 June, Hampshire Bowl, Southampton
  • Pakistan, Saturday 29 June, Headingley, Leeds
  • West Indies, Thursday 4 July, Headingley, Leeds

Squad

Gulbadin Naib (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Key Players

Globetrotter Rashid Khan is ranked as one of the best bowlers in the world and is often found making light work of ripping through middle orders.

His unpredictable legbreak spin bowling catches out the best batsman and he is equally useful at the crease.

He's established himself as a star bowler in the IPL, where the pitches are best suited to his style of play. However, his experience with Sussex Sharks in the Vitality Blast should serve him well this summer.

Rashid Khan will be integral to any success (Getty)

Captain

Gulbadin Naib is in the rather unenviable position of leading a team in a major tournament for the first time following some questionable decision making by the Afghan cricket board.

The all-rounder has never really held a place in the one-day side and has batted in most positions.

One to watch

Rahmat Shah has flourished with Khan in the spotlight and has quietly assembled the best Test and one-day batting average in the squad.

Odds to win

100/1

Prediction

Afghanistan’s reliance on spin points towards a difficult tournament for the bowlers in English conditions and will have to rely on their batsman to win games, something that is highly unlikely.