Shapoor, Hassan return to Afghanistan squad for World T20
Afghanistan have recalled the pace pair of Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan for the World Twenty20 in India, which starts in March. Hassan, though, is not a part of the squad for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, which will be played in February.
Hassan's place in the squad for the Asia Cup will be taken by 23-year-old pace bowler Yamin Ahmadzai, who made his ODI debut in the five-match series against Zimbabwe in the UAE in December-January. Yamin had made his T20 international debut in November 2015 against Oman. Hassan who has been recovering from a thigh injury over the last few months is expected to be fit in time for the World T20.
Shapoor has not played competitive-level cricket since November 2015 and his last international appearance for Afghanistan was in an ODI against Zimbabwe last October. Hassan, meanwhile, has not represented Afghanistan since the 2015 World T20 Qualifier in July last year.
The Afghanistan selectors culled several members from the 21-strong squad that played Zimbabwe in the UAE. Among the notable exclusions are batsman Nawroz Mangal, who had a poor run of form in the ODIs, and bowler Mirwais Ashraf, who played all the ODIs and one T20I on that tour.
Afghanistan will be looking to extend an impressive run of form in T20 internationals in the two tournaments - since the 2014 World T20, they have lost only two of the 13 matches they have played and have won successive series against Zimbabwe. They will take on Oman, UAE and Hong Kong in the four-team Asia Cup Qualifier between February 19 and 22 to decide which Associate will enter the main draw involving the region's four Full Member sides.
Afghanistan will then play Hong Kong, Scotland and Zimbabwe in Group B of the first round of the World T20. If they top the group, they will join the Super 10s stage, where they will play against England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.
They are scheduled to play two warm-ups, against Netherlands and Oman, on March 4 and March 6 in Mohali, before their first match of the tournament against Scotland in Nagpur on March 8.
Asia Cup squad: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Noor Ali Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Yamin Ahmadzai
World T20: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Noor Ali Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan