Afghanistan chief selector Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai defended his decision to drop Asghar Afghan as captain. Afghan was dropped as captain from all formats of the game. The decision came before the World Cup 2019 comes by. But then, things took a surprising an pessimistic turn when he said that whoever their skipper was, they wouldn’t have a shot at the trophy.
Speaking to PTI, he said, “We realised that we can’t win the World Cup at this moment under Asghar’s captaincy, or anyone else who would have been in charge. We made the decision not just thinking about this World Cup, we are thinking about the 2023 edition. We will be getting 10 matches with full members, and we feel it will provide perfect training for the new captain.”
However, the decision was not taken lightly by the Afghanistan Cricket Board. Asghar Afghan has integral to Afghanistan’s meteoric rise up the cricket ladder. In fact, he played a major role in helping the country reach the World Cup. Initially, appendicitis forced him out of action ahead of the qualifier. Fortunately, he later rejoined and helped his struggling side make it to the Super Six stage. Against the odds, he led Afghanistan to four wins in four games, and as a bonus, qualification for the World Cup 2019.
Star leg-spinner and newly appointed T20I captain Rashid Khan spoke out against Afghan’s sacking. However, Ahmadzai is of the opinion that the team will not be affected as Afghan will still be part of the team. He even cited the example of Sri Lanka who also changed their captain before the World Cup 2019.
“Asghar himself has said that Gulbadin [Naib, the new ODI captain] is like his younger brother,” Ahmadzai said. “He believes that Asghar’s experience will come in handy in the World Cup. They are a united front now. Changes happen. Sri Lanka also changed their captain.”
The Afghanistan Chief Selector continued. “There was no Rashid or Mujeeb in 2015 so this time we are aiming for a semi-final berth. With the team composition we have, we can definitely surprise a few teams.”