Afghanistan’s best XI for the T20 World Cup

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The final team that has automatically qualified for the Super 12s in Group 1 for the T20 World Cup is the rising nation of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is well known for some of their individual stars, but they’ll want to make a name as a team in conditions different to those they face at home.

The Afghans will play across four venues – Perth Stadium, MCG (twice), the Gabba and Adelaide Oval.

Here is the Afghanistan squad: Mohammad Nabi (c), Najibullah Zadran (vc), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Darwish Rasooli, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen ul Haq, Qais Ahmad, Rashid Khan, Salim Safi, Usman Ghani

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Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rahmat Shah, Gulbadin Naib

My Afghanistan XI – Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Darwish Rasooli, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Naveen Ul Haq, Farid Ahmad Malik

Gurbaz and Zazai are two of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball in Afghanistan. While Zazai does it with clean slogging, Gurbaz oozes class in his shot selection.

The perfect foil for each other, Afghanistan need the duo to step up in order to have a chance of beating the big boys in the Super 12s. Ibrahim Zadran and Rasooli will have the responsibility of holding the Afghanistan innings if things go awry, or else continue the aggressive batting template.

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Najibullah Zadran is arguably the most important player in the Afghanistan team after Rashid Khan. The left handed middle order player plays pace and spin well, and isn’t afraid to go all out from the first ball.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi is one of the designated finishers for Afghanistan and has a truckload of experience of playing T20 cricket in Australia thanks to the BBL. Omarzai is a young all rounder who bowls seam unlike most Afghan all rounders.

With the World Cup on Australian soil, Omarzai has been given a long rope to show his mettle in T20I cricket, and it hasn’t quite gone his way just yet. However, his seam bowling does make him a likely candidate to be playing in Afghanistan’s first Super 12 game against England.

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Rashid Khan needs no introduction in this Afghanistan lineup. Fazal Haq Farooqi is an exciting left arm seamer who can swing it both ways.

He’ll have the responsibility of picking up wickets with the new ball. Naveen Ul Haq and Malik are also upcoming seamers in Afghanistan cricket and the duo will look to complement Farooqi in the Afghan attack.

While Afghanistan should get the job done against the sides who qualify for the Super 12 later into the tournament, they will likely struggle against the likes of Australia, New Zealand and England.

However, if they can knock off one of these three, then they’ll have had a great tournament.

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