Hamid Hassan picked in Afghanistan's World Cup squad; Naib to captain
Hamid Hassan, the 31-year-old fast bowler who last played an ODI in June 2016, has been selected among Afghanistan's 15 players who will go to England for the 2019 World Cup.
The squad will be led by Gulbadin Naib, despite criticism from senior players Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi following Asghar Afghan's removal as ODI captain less than two months before the World Cup. Afghan, however, remains a part of the squad.
The 15-member squad was selected following a training camp held in Potchefstroom in South Africa that featured 23 players. Ikram Ali Khil, Karim Janat and Sayed Shirzad failed to make it to the 15, but were named as the reserve players.
Four players from Afghanistan's last ODI squad - that played against Ireland - did not make the squad: left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, left-arm fast bowlers Shapoor Zadran and Fareed Ahmad, and top-order batsman Javed Ahmadi.
The selection committee said that the squad was selected after considering fitness and performances over the past six months, and that young wicketkeeper Ikram was chosen as back-up for Shahzad given the long duration of the tournament.
"As chief selector, it is my duty to select a competitive team," Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai said. "However, there were some challenges that we needed to handle. We selected the best squad considering factors such as experience, fitness, team balance, current form and conditions.
"Luckily for us, the come-back of senior fast bowler Hamid Hassan is good news. However, we will take into account his form and fitness during upcoming practice matches."
Hassan last played for Afghanistan in July 2016 against Ireland, and his last T20I was in the World T20 in India in 2016. He was picked in the T20I squad again earlier this year for the Zimbabwe series in February, but he didn't get a game.