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Asghar Afghan, the 33-year-old former Afghanistan captain who is a part of his country's squad at the ongoing T20 World Cup, has announced his decision to retire from all formats of the game at the end of their fixture against Namibia on Sunday. The Afghanistan Cricket Board has accepted it, saying that it "welcomes and respects his decision" and "expresses gratitudes for his services to the country".
Asghar - earlier Asghar Stanikzai - didn't get a chance to bat in Afghanistan's 130-run win over Scotland in their first Super 12s match at the T20 World Cup and scored 10 in seven balls in the defeat against Pakistan. That was his 74th appearance in a T20I, in which he has scored 1351 runs at an average of 21.79 and strike rate of 110.37.
Having started his international career in 2009 with an ODI against Scotland in Benoni in a World Cup qualifying game, Asghar scored 2424 runs in 114 ODIs at an average of 24.73 and a strike rate of 66.77.
He was Afghanistan's captain in their inaugural Test match, against India in Bengaluru in 2018 and played six Tests, scoring 440 runs at 44.00.
A part of the Afghanistan Under-17 back in 2004, he represented his country at the senior level later that year, in Asian Cricket Council tournaments, and then became a regular part of the national team, playing the World Cricket League lower divisions in 2008-09.
Arguably a better captain than a batter, who led his team up the ICC ladder in tricky times, Asghar led Afghanistan in 59 of his 114 ODIs, and 52 of his 74 T20Is. In fact, he holds the record for the most wins as captain in T20Is: Afghanistan won 42 games in the format under him, with nine losses and one tie, while India won 41 under MS Dhoni, to go with 28 losses, one tie and two no-results.
His role as a leader, however, has been a bit up and down of late. In May 2019, the Afghanistan board had taken the all-format captaincy away from Asghar and put in place a three-way captaincy formula, with Rahmat Shah (Tests), Gulbadin Naib (ODIs) and Rashid Khan (T20Is) taking charge. But three months later, after the 2019 ODI World Cup, Naib was sacked - as was Rahmat - and replaced by Rashid across formats. Just months later, in December, Asghar was brought back, again across all formats, for one more stint.
That stint, though, lasted just 15 months, with the board again opting for a split-captaincy model.