Mujeeb Ur Rahman
has been picked in Afghanistan’s squad for the upcoming three-match T20I series in India. The 22-year-old mystery spinner wasn’t part of the national side for the T20I series in the UAE and was instead in action for Melbourne Renegades in the BBL. Mujeeb’s BBL stint, though, was cut short
after the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) revoked his No-Objection Certificate (NoC) for the remainder of the BBL.
The ACB had announced
on December 25 that Mujeeb, along with seamers Fazalhaq Farooqi
, would be sanctioned after telling the board they did not intend to sign central contracts for 2024. The three players were told they would be considered “non-eligible” for NOCs for the next two years, and that any current NOCs would be revoked.
Farooqi and Naveen have since featured for Afghanistan in their most recent T20I series against the UAE after talks with the board in which they “demonstrated a strong desire
to represent their country again”, according to the ACB.
The T20Is in India will be Mujeeb’s first since July 2023
. Mujeeb is part of a strong spin attack that includes Rashid Khan, Qais Ahmad and Noor Ahmad. Rashid, Afghanistan’s designated T20I captain, has been included in the 19-member squad, but is unlikely to play as he continues to recover from a back surgery that had also put him out of the BBL and the UAE T20I series. It is understood that he will only start bowling again in 10 days. Batter Ibrahim Zadran
, who had led Afghanistan to a 2-1 series win over UAE, will captain the side in India as well. Ikram Alikhil
is the back-up wicketkeeper to Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Mohammad Ishaq, Sediqullah Atal, Darwish Rasooli who were all part of the squad for the T20Is in the UAE have been left out for the series in India. Rahmat Shah
retains his place in the squad; he is uncapped in T20I cricket and has not played a T20 since July 2022. Gulbadin Naib and Alikhil, who were among the reserves for the UAE series, have now been promoted to the main squad.
“We are delighted to be embarking on our maiden tour to India for a three-match series,” Mirwais Ashraf
, the ACB chairman, said in a statement. “India is the top-ranked side in the world and it’s very pleasing to witness AfghanAtalan competing in a three-match T20I against them. We believe that AfghanAtalan are no longer underdogs & have excelled well in the recent past and we look forward to a highly competitive series against India.”
This will be Afghanistan’s first bilateral T20I series against India. The three-match series
will begin in Mohali on January 11 before the teams head to Indore and Bangalore for the last two games on January 14 and January 17 respectively.
This will also be the last T20I series for both India and Afghanistan before the T20 World Cup gets underway in the West Indies and the USA in June later this year.
Ibrahim Zadran (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ikram Alikhil (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmaullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan.