ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Afghanistan all 15 player profiles

Meet Asia's rapidly-emerging cricketing force Afghanistan's 15-member squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

afghanistan

Afghanistan could be the surprise package of the tournament   -  Getty Images

Afghanistan

Previous apperances: 2015

Best Finish: Group stage - 2015

 

Gulbadin Naib (Captain)

Age: 28 | All-rounder

Matches– 55 | Runs– 830 | HS– 82* | Avg- 21.84 | 50s– 5 | Wickets– 50 | ECO– 5.15 | Best- 6-43

 

Naib has been a part of Afghanistan’s meteoric rise in cricket in the last decade albeit as a bench player despite making his international debut in 2011. However, he has become a regular in the side since the 2017 series against Zimbabwe and has been a utility player with his explosive cameos in batting and medium-pace. Naib will lead his side in the World Cup as the side’s new ODI captain, following the controversial ousting of regular captain Asghar Afghan. In ODIs, Naib’s last score of 50 or more was in August, 2018, against Ireland but his bowling performances against the Irish in the recent series in February have helped Afghanistan level the series 2-2.
 

 

Aftab Alam

Age: 26 | Bowler

Matches– 24 | Wickets– 37 | Best– 4-25 | Eco– 4.84

 

Aftab Alam made his international debut in the 2010 ODI against Canada after finishing as Afghanistan Under 19 team’s best bowler with 12 wickets at the Youth World Cup in New Zealand in the same year. However, he became a regular in the senior squad since 2015 after good performances in the Tri-series against Ireland and Scotland. In the only match he played in the recent ODI series against Ireland, Alam took four wickets to hand Afghanistan a big win. It was his first and so far his only four-wicket haul in ODIs.

 

 

Asghar Afghan

Age: 31 | Batsman

Matches– 102 | Runs– 2078 | HS– 101 | Avg– 23.88 | 100s– 1 | 50s– 11

 

Formerly known as Asghar Stanikzai, Asghar Afghan’s stoic, unruffled presence is key for Afghanistan’s middle-order. Despite the uproar following his sacking as the team’s captain, Afghan remained nonchalant and continued with three half-centuries in a row in the ODI series against Ireland in March, 2019, emerging as the highest run-getter in the series with an average of 75.33. He led his side to its first-ever Test win later that month, scoring 67 in the only innings he played.

 

 

Dawlat Zadran

Age: 31 | Bowler

Matches– 77 | Wickets– 107| Eco– 5.32 | Best- 4-22

 

Dawlat Zadran is a genuine fast bowler who generates pace with an action resembling Pakistani great Waqar Younis. He became the third Afghanistan bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets when he dismissed Ireland’s Tim Murtagh at Dehradun. One of the senior members of the squad, Dawlat was unlucky to miss out on a Test debut when Afghanistan played its maiden Test match against India in June, 2018. He can also be useful with the bat at No. 10 as he showcased it in the ODI against Zimbabwe in 2014 by smashing four sixes off the final seven balls to win the match for Afghanistan.

 

Hameed Hassan

Age: 31 | Bowler

Matches– 33 | Wickets– 58 | Eco– 4.59 | Best- 5-45

 

Hameed Hassan is someone who is instantly recognisable with his matching bandana and the Afghanistan’s flag colors pasted on his cheeks. After being spotted by former Marylebone Cricket Club president Robin Marlar during a match between MCC and Afghanistan, Hassan became a part of Lord’s ground staff and then played for England’s domestic side Norden CC. His experience has helped Afghanistan qualify for the 2010 World T20 in West Indies. Despite being sidelined since July, 2016 Hameed earned his place with some good performances in the domestic limited-overs cricket.

 

Hashmatullah Shahidi

Age: 24 | Batsman

Matches– 31 | Runs– 865 | HS– 97* | Avg– 34.60 | 50s– 7

 

Shahidi debuted in 2013 but he has played much ODI cricket in the past three years. He can strike the ball hard, especially down the ground and through the leg-side. In the Asia Cup, he emerged as the second-highest run-getter from his side scoring three half-centuries in the tourney, including an unbeaten 97 against Pakistan albeit in a losing cause. He played three matches in the recent five-match ODI series against Ireland, and scored a half-century as Afghanistan drew the series 2-2.

 

 

Hazratullah Zazai

Age: 21 | Batsman

Matches– 8 | Runs– 183 | HS– 67 | Avg– 22.87 | 50s– 1

 

One of the exciting young talents at the 2019 World Cup Zazai burst into limelight in February, 2019, when he registered the second-highest individual score in T20Is with an unbeaten 162 off 62 deliveries against Ireland. His knock enabled Afghanistan to register the highest-ever T20 total – 278 for 3. His batting exploits have lifted him to the seventh spot in the ICC rankings for T20I batsmen. Hazratullah has been in good form of late. He was the second-highest run-getter from his team in the recent ODI series against Ireland. He’s relatively new to international cricket, having debuted in 2018.

 

Mohammad Nabi

Age: 34 | All-rounder

Matches– 112 | Runs– 2592 | HS– 116 | Avg- 29.12 | 100s– 1 | 50s– 13 | Wickets– 118 | Eco– 4.26 | Best- 4-30

 

Mohammad Nabi, an all-rounder, is another stalwart for Afghanistan with lots of experience. Known for his calm, unruffled disposition, Nabi led the side in its maiden World Cup, in 2015, overseeing a memorable campaign in which it defeated Scotland to register its first and so far only win in World Cups. Nabi has been in good form -- playing vital knocks down the order and picking vital wickets with his off-spin for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2019. In the ODI series against Ireland in March, 2019, he took four wickets in four bowling innings, and scored 130 runs.

 

Mohammad Shahzad

Age: 32 | Wicket-keeper/Batsman

Matches– 82 | Runs– 2720 | HS– 131* | Avg– 34.43 | 100s– 6 | 50s– 14 | Catches- 62 | Stumpings- 25

 

In limited-overs cricket, he is known for his rapid run-making, a cavalier spirit and boundless enthusiasm. The portly cricketer has been prominent for Afghanistan in the last decade, having played 79 ODIs and 65 T20Is since having begun his career in 2009. Despite the paucity of fixtures with elite cricketing nations, Shahzad has shown he can make runs against the best of teams. In September, 2018, against India at the Asia Cup, he scored his fifth century in ODIs; the knock of 124 helped his team secure a tie. Two months later, he smashed an unbeaten 74 off 16 deliveries in a T10 contest in Sharjah.

 

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Age: 18 | Bowler

Matches– 30 | Wickets– 51 | Eco– 3.76 | Best- 5-50

 

Only 18, Mujeeb has been a revelation in his short career so far. He can bowl off-spin, leg-spin, and the googly. In March, 2019, in the One-Day International series against Ireland, he became the second fastest Afghanistan bowler – after Rashid Khan – and the 14th fastest overall, to get to 50 wickets in ODIs. Mujeeb was the highest wicket-taker from his side in that series, taking seven wickets from five matches. With his inclusion, Afghanistan has a quality spin trio alongside Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.

 

 

Najibullah Zadran

Age: 26 | Batsman

Matches– 56 | Runs– 1270 | HS– 104* | Avg– 30.23 | 100s– 1 | 50s– 9

 

The lower middle-order batsman is capable of hitting the ball all around the ground and is a fan-favorite for his stylish strokeplay. His presence adds depth and stability to the batting order as he can mend a top-order collapse without losing sight of the target. He has been around in international cricket for the last seven years but registered his first ODI century in March, 2019, smashing an unbeaten 104 off 98 deliveries against Ireland. This will be his second World Cup having played in 2015, too.

 

 

Noor Ali Zadran

Age: 30 | Batsman

Matches– 48 | Runs– 1153 | HS- 114 | Avg– 25.06 | 100s– 1 | 50s– 7

 

Noor Ali is a flamboyant right-hand opening batsman who has been playing for Afghanistan since 2009, overseeing its rapid rise in international cricket. However, he wasn’t part of the team when it participated in its first World Cup – in 2015. Noor Ali likes the ball coming on to the bat, and can play cuts, pulls, flicks and drives stylishly. Noor Ali has been absent from ODIs since December, 2017 and returned to Afghanistan’s playing XI in one of the five ODIs against Ireland in March, 2019, scoring nine runs. Noor Ali is the uncle of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the leg-spinner.

 

Rahmat Shah

Age: 25 | Batsman

Matches – 61 | Runs– 2001 | HS– 114 | Avg– 36.38 | 100s – 4 | 50s – 14

 

One of the best players of the pull shot in the Afghanistan team, Shah is not afraid to step down the track to spinners. He played a big hand in Afghanistan’s first-ever Test win against Ireland in March, 2019, scoring two half-centuries, including a 98. He scored a half-century in five ODIs against Ireland in the same month. In ODIs, Shah’s last three years have been fruitful. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, he ensured a batting average of 38.00 or higher. He was the fourth-highest run-getter in a domestic List A competition in July, 2018.

 

Rashid Khan

Age: 20 | Bowler

Matches– 59 | Wickets– 125 | Eco– 3.90 | Best- 7-18

 

Since having made his ODI debut in 2015, Rashid Khan has had a mercurial rise in elite-level cricket. He is a leg-spinner but not of the classical variety – he doesn’t spin the ball much, and relies a lot on his googly. Such has been his success that he became the fastest to 100 ODI wickets in March, 2018. In ODIs, he possesses an impressive economy-rate of 3.90 in 57 matches. He took five wickets in the recent ODI series against Ireland. In the Test match held after the series, he took five wickets to help his side claim a historic seven-wicket win.

 

 

Samiullah Shinwari

Age: 31 | All-rounder

Matches- 81 | Runs– 1737 | HS– 96 | Avg– 28.47 | 50s– 11 | Wickets– 45 |Eco– 4.93 |Best- 4-31

 

A batsman who bats in the lower half of the batting order, and a leg-spinner, Samiullah Shinwari has also been around for long for Afghanistan. He is capable of playing clean slogs to provide quick runs for his team. In the 2015 World Cup, he played a big role in Afghanistan’s first and only win in the competition, against Scotland. He scored 96 to keep his side afloat in the chase of 211 despite wickets falling all around him. It remains his highest score in ODIs. He has not scored a single half-century in the format, however, in the last two years.