Afghanistan vs Ireland: ACB names the squad for one-off Test in Dehradun

All eyes will also be on leg-spinner Rashid Khan in the Test.

Afghanistan team
Afghanistan team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

They had a forgettable debut in the longer format against India in Bengaluru last year as the top-ranked team walloped them by an innings and 262 runs in two days. Nine months since the debut, Afghanistan are set to play their second Test though the opponents are much moderate this time – Ireland. The Test match will take place in India again – at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun where the two teams have already been playing a full-fledged series.

Afghanistan won the three-match T20I series against Ireland 3-0 while the five-match ODI series was drawn 2-2 with one game ending without a result because of rain. The two young sides in world cricket will now play in their only Test starting March 15. Ireland also played their debut Test last year at home against Pakistan though their loss was comparatively less thrashing (by 5 wickets).

Led by batsman Ashgar Afghan, Afghanistan have added left-arm wrist-spinner Zahir Khan and left-arm pacer Sayed Shirzad in their squad for the Test match. The 20-year-old Zahir made his international debut in the final ODI against Ireland last Sunday, finishing with 2 wickets for 55 runs. Zahir had earlier played for Afghanistan in the Intercontinental Cup in 2015, bagging 7 for 69 on first-class debut against Papua New Guinea and was also a member of the squad that reached the semi-final of the Under-19 World Cup held last year.

In first-class cricket, Zahir has 34 scalps from seven games at an average of just over 13. Zahir has also featured in England’s T20 Blast and came close to making debut in the Indian Premier League last year for Rajasthan Royals but for an injury. The Afghanistan team management monitored the injury-prone bowler before adding him to the squad against Ireland.

Eyes will also be on Rashid Khan

The 24-year-old Shirzad has already played in four T20Is though he made his ODI debut in the same series against Ireland. The seamer has 49 wickets from 15 matches in first-class cricket at an average of just over 25. “Both Zahir Khan and Sayed Shirzad have very good bowling records in first-class cricket and have played in the ICC Intercontinental Cup for Afghanistan,” chief selector Dawlat Ahmadzi was quoted as saying by icc-cricket.com.

All eyes will also be on leg-spinner Rashid Khan in the Test. He had an ordinary outing against India in the Bengaluru Test last year and the fans will be eager to see how he does in his second game in red ball cricket.

The Afghanistan squad for one-off Test against Ireland:

Asghar Afghan (c), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Nasir Jamal, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Waqar Salamkhail, Ikram Ali Khil, Yamin Ahmadzai, Rashid Khan, Wafadar Momand, Sharafudin Ashraf, Zahir Khan, Sayed Shirzad

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