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Afghanistan announces squad for Sri Lanka T20I series

Afghanistan Monday announced a 16-man squad for the three-match Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka, aiming to prepare strongly for this year’s World Cup.

Ibrahim Zadran will continue to lead the squad as regular Twenty20 skipper Rashid Khan is still recovering from a back surgery.

The three matches will be played — all in Dambulla — on February 17, 19 and 21 February following the conclusion of one-day international series on Wednesday.

Missing Rashid badly, Afghanistan lost the one-off Test and trail the three-match ODI series 2-0 against host Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan’s chief selector Ahmad Shah Sulimankhil said the T20 World Cup is the target.

“We have a close eye on the upcoming T20 World Cup for which we want to prepare a very good mix of players consisting of both juniors and seniors,” Sulimankhil is quoted in a Afghanistan Cricket Board release.

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“This series alongside the three T20Is against Ireland in March is a good opportunity for us to test our bench strength and finalise a good squad for the mega event.”

The T20 World Cup will be held in the United States and the West Indies in June this year.

Another key spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman also misses out on the squad after sustaining a sprain in his right hand before the start of the ODI series against Sri Lanka.

Fast bowler Mohammad Saleem Safi, who was part of the Afghanistan squad for the India tour last month, has been left out due to a hamstring strain and is replaced by Wafadar Momand.

Squad

Ibrahim Zadran (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Ishaq Rahimi, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Wafadar Momand, Qais Ahmad

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