The biggest names in Afghanistan cricket globally, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, have taken to Twitter to oppose the captaincy changes of their side, saying the timing was not correct, with the World Cup just around the corner.
This was in response to the Afghanistan Cricket Board removing Asghar Afghan as the captain from all three formats, naming Rahmat Shah (Test), Gulbadin Naib (ODI) and Rashid (T20I) as the new leaders.
Nabi tweeted in support of Afghan, saying the team had "gelled really well" under the veteran, who had taken over the reins from Nabi, and Rashid called the decision was "irresponsible and biased".
Being a senior member of the side & having seen the rise of Afghanistan cricket @ashrafghani I don't think it's the right time to change the captain before the WC @afgexecutive The team has gelled really well under #Asghar & personally feel he is the right man to lead us @hmohib— Mohammad Nabi (@MohammadNabi007) April 5, 2019
Rashid, named captain of the T20I side and vice-captain to Naib for ODIs, was even more scathing in its criticism.
"With all the respect to the Selection Committee, I strongly disagree with the decision as it is irresponsible & bias," he tweeted. "As we have @cricketworldcup in front of us, Captain #MAsgharAfghan should remain as our team Captain. His captaincy is highly instrumental for team success. With just months to go for such a mega event like World Cup, changing the captain will cause uncertainty and also team morale will be affected. @ashrafghani @afgexecutive @hmohib."
The reason given by ACB chairman Azizullah Fazli for the change in captaincy ahead of the World Cup was to "introduce change in leadership" in order to compete better against nine Full Members in the global tournament.
The change in captaincy is the latest in a series of moves involving the highest levels of the ACB, which - given the senior positions involved - have raised suspicions of interference from outside cricket. A few months ago, the entire top brass of ACB, including the chairman Atif Mashal and CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai were removed from their posts suddenly, and Azizullah Fazli was given total powers as the board chairman. The removal of Stanikzai was especially surprising as he had led the management since 2014, and oversaw a period of great success for the national team, including Afghanistan earning Full Member status in 2017.