Rashid Khan will lead Afghanistan across all formats, while former captain Asghar Afghan has been appointed his deputy. The change comes after Afghanistan lost all their matches at the World Cup under Gulbadin Naib, with his decisions on the field during a thriller against Pakistan, in particular, coming under the scanner.
Rashid, currently No. 1 in T20I bowling rankings and No. 8 in ODI rankings, had a forgettable World Cup too. In eight innings, the legspinner manage to pick up just six wickets at an average of 69.33 and a strike rate of 71.8. Against England at Manchester, he went for 110 from his nine overs – the joint second-most runs conceded by a bowler in an ODI.
ALSO READ: The Cricket Monthly’s profile of Rashid Khan, Afghan, nomad, superstar
Rashid, 20, had led Afghanistan during the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe last year – they lost three of those four games – when Asghar was unavailable. He has also led Band-e-Amir Dragons and Kabul Zwanan 16 times in T20 cricket, with ten wins and six defeats.
ESPNcricinfo understands Rashid was offered the ODI captaincy before the World Cup as well, but had declined the offer. He was then named vice-captain to Naib in the ODI side and captain of the T20I side. Rahmat Shah was supposed to take over the Test team but he will relinquish the post without captaining a single game.
Rashid and Mohammad Nabi, two of Afghanistan’s biggest players, publicly criticised Asghar’s removal prior to the World Cup, saying that it had the potential to disrupt the team’s performance.
Apart from their dismal showing on the field, Afghanistan have also had to deal with the controversy surrounding Mohammad Shahzad, who was sent home by the ACB for being unfit, only for Shahzad to hit back saying that was not true.
Then, the ACB removed Dawlat Ahmadzai from the senior selection committee and named him as head of the junior selection panel. In his place, Andy Moles, who was Afghanistan’s coach at the 2015 World Cup, was appointed to the senior selection panel along with Mujahid Zadran, who has worked as a coach with Afghanistan A.
There also seemed to be a fallout between head coach Phil Simmons and Ahmadzai, leading Simmons to tweet: “I am in the middle of a World Cup and trying to get our team to perform to the level we expect but at the end of the World Cup I will tell the Afghanistan people about the part that Mr Dawlat Ahmadzai had to play in our preparation and his part in the dismissal of #AsgharAfghan.”
Later fast bowler Aftab Alam was withdrawn from the squad following allegations of serious misbehaviour with a female guest at the team hotel in Southampton and was subsequently handed one-year suspension.