Afghanistan have named left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf as the replacement for departing former skipper Asghar Afghan for the remainder of the tournament.

The 26-year-old spinner, who was in the reserves, has played 9 T20Is and 17 ODIs, picking a combine of 18 wickets, in his career so far.

Asghar Afghan’s retirement decision mid-tournament surprised everyone. He retired from international cricket on Sunday after Afghanistan’s game against Namibia, having announced his decision ahead of the game.

Sharafuddin Ashraf
Sharafuddin Ashraf with Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Image-Twitter

“The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 approved the replacement of Aghan following concerns over the veteran’s mental well-being,” the ICC said in a release.

“Ashraf was a reserve as per the allowance for teams to travel with extra players in view of COVID-19 quarantine requirements.”

I want to give chance to youngsters now: Asghar Afghan

Asghar Afghan stated that he wanted to give opportunities to youngsters in the side. The 33-year-old also revealed that his teammates did ask him to continue at least until the end of the T20 World Cup, but he had made up his mind already.

Asghar Afghan
Asghar Afghan. Image-PTI

“I want to give chance to youngsters now. It is the right time for the youngsters come forward. Most of the people asked to continue till the end of the tournament. But I thought this is the right time after the loss in the last game. There are plenty of memories. This is tough for me,” Asghar Afghan said on Sunday during the game versus Namibia.

Afghanistan gave their iconic cricketer a memorable farewell, defeating Namibia by 62 runs; the right-hander made 31 (23) helping his side to 160.

Afghanistan are sitting second in Group 2 with 2 wins in three games. But it is their remaining matches – versus India and New Zealand – that will decide the fate of their campaign.

They take on Virat Kohli’s team on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi. Sharafuddin Ashraf could come in straight into the line-up if Mujeeb Ur Rahman is unable to recover from his injury which kept him out of the last game.

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