Hashmatullah Shahidi is the new ODI and Test captain; T20I captaincy decision to be made soon
Asghar Afghan‘s second stint as Afghanistan captain has lasted all of 15 months, with the board deeming some of his tactics during the series against Zimbabwe in March as “questionable”. They have now opted for a split-captaincy model.
Hashmatullah Shahidi, the senior middle-order batter, takes over as the new ODI and Test captain, with Rahmat Shah as his deputy. While a decision on the T20I captaincy will be taken soon, legspinning allrounder Rashid Khan will remain vice-captain of that side.
Shahidi is among Afghanistan’s more accomplished longer-format batters, having so far played in each of their five Tests. In March, he became Afghanistan’s first Test double-centurion during the course of a record-breaking partnership with Afghan that helped Afghanistan level the two-Test series against Zimbabwe after they lost the series opener in just over two days.
“The decision to remove Asghar Afghan from captaincy was taken based on an investigation conducted by ACB’s Investigative committee,” an ACB media release stated. “It 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.”
The shake-up in captaincy isn’t entirely out of the blue, with the ACB having explored a number of options in the recent past. In May 2019, the ACB wrested the captaincy from Afghan two months before the 2019 World Cup, while splitting the role among Gulbadin Naib (ODIs), Khan (T20Is) and Shah (Tests).
Three months later, Naib was sacked and replaced by Khan across formats after Afghanistan ended the World Cup without a single win. Then in December 2019, Afghan was brought back for a second stint.
The captaincy reshuffle comes at a crucial time, with the T20 World Cup just five months away. Afghanistan will also travel to Australia after the world event for their maiden Test in the country.