Sri Lanka was due to host the rescheduled tournament but with the economic and political crisis going in the island country, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) shifted the six-team competition to the United Arab Emirates. However, Sri Lanka Cricket remains as the host of the tournament.
Started in 1984, the Asia Cup used to be played in ODI format until 2016 when the tournament was played for the first time in the shortest format of the game – as a preparation for the T20 World Cup a month after.
The Asia Cup 2022 will be the second time the competition will be played in T20 format – once again seen a pre-cursor to the T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year. Afghanistan are coming into this tournament after losing the T20 series 2-3 against Ireland.
However, Afghanistan squad sees one change from the 16-member squad against Ireland. Samiuallah Shinwari has replaced Sharafuddin Ashraf, who is now a part of the reserves. Spinner Noor Ahmed has also been added to the side.
Shinwari last represented Afghanistan in a T20I in March 2020, in a match against Ireland. Alongside Ashraf, Qais Ahmed and Nijad Masood are the other two standby players. The squad also features other regulars like Rashid Khan, Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Afghanistan’s Asia Cup Record
Afghanistan have played Asia Cup twice – in 2014 and 2018 – both in ODI formats. This will be first time Afghanistan will be playing the Asia Cup in T20 format. Afghanistan’s best Asia Cup performance was in 2018 when they entered the Super Four after beating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in group stages. However, Afghanistan failed to win a single Super Four game.
Key Players To Watch Out For
Najibullah Zadran: One of the best performers with the bat for Afghanistan against Ireland has been Najibullah Zadran. The left-hander was Afghanistan’s top-scorer against Ireland in the five-match T20 series with 125 runs under his belt including a 50. A power-hitter, Zadran provides stability in the middle order too.
Rashid Khan: The world-famous leggie makes his place in the list by his own merit. Although he has taken just three wickets in five games, Rashid Khan is always a match-winner on a given day. Besides his bowling, his batting prowess lower down the order also gives the team an extra bonus in terms of runs scored.
Mohammad Nabi (C), Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Janat, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Naveen ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shinwari; On Standby: Nijat Masood, Qais Ahmed, Sharafuddin Ashraf.
Afghanistan’s Asia Cup 2022 Fixtures
Afghanistan have been put in Group B alongside Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The Mohammad Nabi-led side will open their Asia Cup 2022 campaign against Sri Lanka on August 27 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The they play Bangladesh three days later in Sharjah. Both games start on 7:20 PM IST.
How To Watch Asia Cup 2022 In India?
Star Sports Network has the broadcast rights of Asia Cup 2022 in India. The Star Sports channels will live telecast the Asia Cup 2022 cricket tournament in India while Disney+ Hotstar will live stream the whole competition.