Afghanistan have picked uncapped 18-year-old batsman Ihsanullah in the squad for their upcoming Intercontinental Cup match against Netherlands. Ihsanullah captained the Afghanistan Under-19s team in the World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year and had also played in the 2014 edition in the UAE.
The Afghanistan selectors named a full-strength squad for the ODIs against Scotland and Ireland in July, which will be played before the Intercontinental Cup match – 12 of the 16 members in the squad played the World T20 in India earlier this year, while batsman Javed Ahmadi and allrounder Rahmat Shah were also named in the squad. Ahmadi’s last ODI was against England during the 2015 World Cup, while Rahmat has not played in the format since July 2014. The squad also includes medium-pacer Mirwais Ashraf and fast bowler Yamin Ahmadzai, who were part of the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in the UAE in December-January. The notable omission from both squads is middle-order batsman Nawroz Mangal, who is also Ihsanullah’s older brother. Both teams will be led by Asghar Stanikzai.
Ashraf is also part of the 14-member squad for the match against Netherlands along with former Under-19 captain Nasir Jamal. Ashraf had missed the Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia in April this year, while Jamal played his only first-class match for Afghanistan in August 2014. Jamal’s last international appearance was also in the 2015 World Cup game against England.
Ihsanullah has scored 294 runs in 12 Youth ODIs and all his appearances have come in the Under-19 World Cup. In 2014, he scored 175 runs in six games at an average of 35 and one fifty. His returns in the 2016 edition of the tournament were poorer – 119 runs in six games at an average of 19.83. Under Ihsanullah’s captaincy, Afghanistan finished third in Group B, behind Pakistan and Sri Lanka and their only victory came against Canada.
Afghanistan will start their tour on July 4 with the first of two ODIs against Scotland in Edinburgh. The five-match ODI series against Ireland will be played between July 10 and 19 in Belfast before the team travels to Voorburg for their four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture, which starts from July 29. Afghanistan are third on the Intercontinental Cup points table, with two wins and a draw after three matches. They thumped Namibia by an innings and 36 runs in their previous match in the tournament, which was played in India.
Afghanistan ODI squad: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran, Amir Hamza, Yamin Ahmadzai. Reserve players: Nasir Jamal, Imran Janat, Afsar Zazai
Afghanistan Intercontinental Cup squad: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Ihsanullah, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Zahir Khan, Mirwais Ashraf, Nasir Jamal, Dawlat Zadran, Sayed Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai. Reserve players: Javed Ahmadi, Abdullah Adil, Afsar Zazai