Afghanistan has included four spinners in their 16-man squad for their debut Test match against India in Bengaluru.
The squad includes two players not yet capped in any format by Afghanistan (one of whom is a spinner), reports the ICC. Mohammad Nabi, the experienced off-spinning all-rounder; Rashid Khan, the leg-spinner; and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the finger spinner, were all expected picks.
Also included are Zahir Khan – the left-arm wrist-spinner who hasn’t played internationally yet – and Amir Hamza, the left-arm spinner with the experience of 31 ODIs and the same number of T20Is.
The Afghans also have Wafadar, the 18-year-old paceman who has played just three first-class matches, in their list of uncapped players for the historic game, where India will be led by Ajinkya Rahane in the absence of Virat Kohli.
The 19-year-old Zahir has only played seven first-class matches, taking 34 wickets, of which 31 came in the Intercontinental Cup won by Afghanistan prior to the country earning its Test status. Zahir was part of the Rajasthan Royals set-up during IPL 2018 and was one of four Afghans who competed in the tournament along with Nabi, Rashid and Mujeeb – although he left without playing a game as the result of a finger injury.
Afghanistan’s premier paceman Dawlat Zadran picked up a knee injury that has forced him out of the side, which will be led by Asghar Stanikzai, but the rest of the squad didn’t contain any surprises. The Test starts on 14 June.
The selectors named a vastly different squad for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh, which will be played in the north Indian city of Dehradun on 3, 5 and 7 June. Only five members of the Test lineup – captain Stanikzai, Shahzad, Nabi, Rashid and Mujeeb – are in the 16-man T20I squad, with the familiar faces of Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbadin Naib and Shapoor Zadran featuring too. Called up to the national team for the first time is Darwish Rasooli, the 18-year-old batsman.
— Afghan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) May 29, 2018
Afghanistan squad for T20I series against Bangladesh:
Asghar Stanikzai (c), Najeeb Tarakai, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah, Darwish Rasooli, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Shapoor Zadran, Aftab Alam
Afghanistan squad for India Test:
Asghar Stanikzai (c), Javed Ahmadi, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Nasir Jamal, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Sayed Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar, Zahir Khan
Photo: Julian Herbert-IDI/IDI via Getty Images