ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Rashid Khan steps down as Afghanistan T20 captain
Star spinner says he wasn't consulted in the selection of Afghanistan's T20 World Cup squad; ICC to discuss country's future at next board meeting
AP & cricket.com.au
10 September 2021, 07:16 AM AEST
Rashid Khan has stepped down as Afghanistan's Twenty20 captain, saying that he was not consulted by the selectors while they were choosing the team for next month's T20 World Cup.
Afghanistan's selectors have named veterans Shapoor Zadran and wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad in the squad along with injury-prone fast bowler Hamid Hassan.
The news came just hours after Cricket Australia had all but cancelled this summer's Test match in Hobart after the newly installed Taliban government announced its opposition to women playing cricket in the Islamic nation.
In a statement released this week, the International Cricket Council also expressed its concern over the Taliban's comments and foreshadowed further discussions at its next board meeting, which is scheduled for November, after completion of the T20 World Cup.
Delaying such talks would allow Afghanistan to compete in the World Cup, which starts next month.
Rashid's decision to resign as captain came just moments after the Afghanistan Cricket Board's official Twitter account had revealed a squad of 18 players plus two reserves for the World Cup.
Under ICC rules, teams are permitted to name a squad of 15 plus reserves.
"The selection committee and ACB (Afghanistan Cricket Board) has not obtained my consent for the team which has been announced by ACB media," Rashid said.
"As the captain and responsible person for the nation I reserve the right to be part of the selection of the team.
"I am taking the decision of stepping down from the role as the captain of Afghanistan T20 side effective immediately."
Rashid's decision to step down comes just months after chief selector Asadullah Khan had also resigned, saying there had been interference from "non-cricketers" who have "no knowledge about the players and selection".
Veteran allrounder Mohammad Nabi indicated that he would take over from Rashid as skipper.
At this critical stage, I admire the decision of ACB for the announcement of leading the National Cricket Team in T20 Format. InshaAllah together we will present a great picture of the Nation in the upcoming T20 World Cup.— Mohammad Nabi (@MohammadNabi007) September 9, 2021
The future of the Afghanistan's men's team remains clouded following the Taliban's takeover, with the ICC requiring Full Member nations to field both men's and women's teams.
"The ICC is committed to the long-term growth of women's cricket and despite the cultural and religious challenges in Afghanistan, steady progress has been made in this area since Afghanistan's admission as a Full Member in 2017," the ICC statement said.
"The ICC has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket."
Rashid, who is the world's top-ranked bowler in Twenty20s, was named Afghanistan captain for the T20 World Cup in July. His deputy Najibullah Zadran was included in the 18-member squad.
Afghanistan are in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup in Group 2 alongside India, Pakistan, New Zealand and the two qualifiers.
Squad named by ACB: Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Naveen ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Nabi, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Qais Ahmad