The Afghanistan Cricket Board has removed Asghar Afghan as captain across all three formats eight weeks before their Cricket World Cup opener.
Asghar, who guided Afghanistan to victory at the World Cup qualifiers last year and to a maiden Test victory over Ireland in March, is replaced by Gulbadin Naib in ODIs.
Splitting the captaincy across the formats also takes Rahmat Shah take responsibility for Tests and Rashid Khan the reins for Afghanistan’s T20 internationals.
Khan himself appears to be unaware of the decision to sack Asghar, let alone the one which will see him leads the team in T20s.
Airing his disapproval of the board’s move, leg-spinner Khan tweeted: “With just months to go for such a mega event like World Cup, changing the captain will cause uncertainty and also team morale will be affected.
“With all the respect to the Selection Committee, I strongly disagree with the decision as it is irresponsible and biased. As we have [the World Cup] in front of us, Captain #MAsgharAfghan should remain as our team Captain. His captaincy is highly instrumental for team success,” added Rashid in another tweet.
Afghanistan begin their World Cup campaign against reigning champions Australia on 1 June with Khan a trusted talisman of the team alongside middle-order batsman Mohammad Nabi. With Afghanistan likely to be rumbled by the announcement, BettingTop10 have all the odds on Cricket World Cup betting including their opener against Australia.
Like Khan, Nabi took to Twitter to voice his thoughts about the negative effect Asghar’s removal could have on the team.
“Being a senior member of the side and having seen the rise of Afghanistan cricket, I don’t think it’s the right time to change the captain before the World Cup. The team has gelled really well under Ashgar and I personally feel he is the right man to lead us,” said Nabi.
Reasons for the axing of Asghar remain unclear, with the Afghanistan Cricket Board giving no comment in revealed their World Cup practice squad, which does include Asghar.
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Rashid Khan (vc), Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Najib Zadran, Darwish Rasooli, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Shapoor Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Karim Janat, Qais Ahmad, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Sayed Shirzad, Samiullah Shinwari