Shadab Khan, the captain of Pakistan, said that his team would fight courageously in the three-match T20 International series, which gets underway in Sharjah on Friday, against a strong Afghan team.
For the series, Shadab took over for Babar Azam, who was rested along with senior players Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf. Top players from Pakistan’s local T20 league, the Pakistan Super League, have been brought in (PSL).
“It is a great honor for me to be leading Pakistan,” Shadab said on Thursday. “As a player, this is the highest you can go in your career.
“I am very excited for the upcoming three T20Is. We have a brilliant mix of youth and experience, which makes us a well-balanced side, and we have what it takes to win this series.”
When Babar was injured, Shadab took charge of Pakistan in a three-match T20I series in New Zealand, but they lost 2-1. While fast bowlers Ihsanullah and Zaman Khan, as well as the batsmen Saim Ayub and Tayyab Tahir, have never received a call-up, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Azam Khan, and Abdullah Shafique have.
After keeping him out of the three-match T20 series against the United Arab Emirates that they won 2-1 last month, Afghanistan has also called up former captain Muhammad Nabi. After taking over for Nabi last year, shrewd leg-spinner Rashid Khan will serve as Afghanistan’s team captain.
Afghanistan, according to Shadab, is a dangerous team with “several good T20 players in their side, but I am very confident in the players I currently have in my squad.”
In each of the three T20Is before this one—a one-off game in Sharjah in 2013, the T20 World Cup in 2021, and the Asia Cup last year—Pakistan has triumphed over Afghanistan.
In lieu of the three one-day International matches that Afghanistan was scheduled to play against Australia this month, Pakistan agreed to play the series—the first between the two nations.
In response to the Taliban government in Afghanistan’s proclamation that it would prohibit girls from attending universities and would not create a women’s cricket team, Cricket Australia withdrew from that series. Naseeb Khan, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, expressed his wish for a successful series for the audience.
“Both nations have passionate fans who support their teams with enthusiasm and pride,” said Naseeb. “As neighbors, we have a special bond and we hope to showcase not only our cricketing skills but also the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship.”