Afghanistan players upset with cricket World Cup captain appointment

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Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi bats during the one day international cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Afghanistan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Gulbadin Naib’s appointment on Friday as Afghanistan’s captain for the cricket World Cup has not gone down well with the team’s two senior players.

Rashid Khan, who was named Twenty20 skipper, and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi have criticized the selection committee’s decision to remove Asghar Afghan from the captaincy in all the three formats.

“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 WC,” Nabi wrote on Twitter .

Nabi also felt the team gelled under the leadership of Afghan, who he thought was the right man to lead Afghanistan in the World Cup in England and Wales beginning in May.

Rashid, the world’s top-ranked Twenty20 leg-spinner, also shared his thoughts on Twitter, writing that he disagrees “with the decision as it is irresponsible (and shows) bias” and that Afghan’s “captaincy is highly instrumental for team success.”

“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,” he wrote.

Afghan was stripped of the test captaincy after leading Afghanistan to a historic victory over Ireland in only its second test match last month. Middle-order batsman Rahmat Shah has replaced Afghan as the test captain.

Chief selector Dawalt Ahmadzai defended his decision to appoint Naib as captain for the World Cup, saying it was for the better future of the team.

Nabi carries Afghanistan to 5 wicket win over Ireland in T20
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi, center, celebrates with teammates the dismissal of India’s Ambati Rayudu during the one day international cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Afghanistan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

“Asghar Afghan, who captained team Afghanistan for a period of around four years, achieved a lot and made the country proud, and I hope Gulbadin Naib will be able to continue his legacy at the helm of the team’s affairs,” Ahmadzai said in a statement.

Afghanistan will open its World Cup campaign against defending world champion Australia on June 1 in Bristol.

A 23-member Afghanistan squad left on Friday for South Africa, where it will play six practice matches during the training camp.

Ahmadzai said the team will return to Kabul, at which point a 15-member World Cup squad will be announced.

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