Asghar Afghan, who as recently as a month ago was Afghanistan’s captain in all three formats, has been sacked by the ACB, with Hashmatullah Shahidi replacing the veteran as the Test and ODI skipper. The ACB are yet to name the T20I skipper, but Shahidi is not expected to lead in the shortest format.
For the second time in three years, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have unceremoniously removed Ashghar Afghan as the skipper of the national side as the 33-year-old, on Monday, was sacked by the board. Post the controversy that erupted in the 2019 World Cup, Afghan took over the reins in all three formats prior to the start of 2020, but the ACB, in an official release, claimed that an investigation revealed that the loss against Zimbabwe in the first Test in Abu Dhabi earlier this year was directly attributed to the captaincy calls made by Afghan. Afghanistan, after losing the first Test, bounced back and handsomely won the second to level the series, but failure to win the series has proved to be fatal for Afghan, who has seen himself stripped of captaincy.
“The decision to remove Asghar Afghan from captaincy was taken based on an investigation conducted by ACB’s Investigative committee which concluded that some of Afghan’s decisions as the captain of the team resulted in Afghanistan’s loss to Zimbabwe in the first Test of the series between both sides in Abu Dhabi in March,” said the ACB in an official release.
The 33-year-old will be replaced as skipper by left-handed batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi in Tests and ODIs, and the ACB confirmed that Afghanistan will now be looking at ‘split captaincy’, meaning Shahidi will not be taking over the reins in the shortest format.
“As per the decision, left-hander Hashmatullah Shahidi is appointed the new ODI and Test Captain of the National team while Rahmat Shah will serve as the Vice-captain for both formats. Furthermore, it was decided that all-rounder Rashid Khan will remain the Vice-Captain of the T20I team while the decision to appoint the new captain will be taken soon,” the release further read.
Afghan was sacked as captain for the first time in 2019, months before the commencement of the World Cup, and the decision caused a stir. Several senior players, including Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, chastised the board for the decision and lent their support for Afghan. Eventually, under the leadership of Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan finished the 2019 WC at bottom, losing each of their nine games.