Samiullah Shinwari returns for Afghanistan's Asia Cup campaign

Mohammad Nabi continues as captain, with Najibullah Zadran as his deputy

Samiullah Shinwari was stranded on 49, Afghanistan v Bangladesh, World Cup 2019, Southampton, June 24, 2019

Samiullah Shinwari has not played an international match since March 2020  •  Getty Images

Samiullah Shinwari, the 34-year-old batter, has been included in Afghanistan's 17-man squad for the upcoming men's Asia Cup in the UAE. Mohammad Nabi continues to be the captain of the side, with Rashid Khan the key man in the line-up.
"The Asia Cup is an important event for us and, as such, we have picked our best available players for the event," Afghanistan's chief selector Noor Malikzai said. "Samiullah Shinwari has been added to the side for the Asia Cup. He is in very good form and can give further impetus to the batting department, which already boasts Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi."
Shinwari has represented Afghanistan in 64 T20Is since his debut in 2010, but has not played an international match since March 2020. He was recalled on the back of his performances for Boost Defenders in the recent Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL), where he scored 202 runs from eight innings at an average of 33.66 and strike rate of 122.42. He was the seventh highest run-scorer in the competition.
Left-arm wristspinner Noor Ahmad, who was replaced by Mujeeb Ur Rahman for the ongoing series against Ireland, also made a comeback for the Asia Cup. Ibrahim, Shahidi and Naveen-ul-Haq kept their places in the squad.
Ibrahim and Shahidi had strengthened their claims with strong performances in the SCL. Shahidi was the tournament's leading run-getter with 411 at 58.71, while Ibrahim scored 318 runs at an average of 53. Fast bowler Naveen was the second-highest wicket-taker in the T20 Blast this season, with 24 strikes from 14 matches for Leicestershire.
Seam bowler Nijat Masood, spinner Qais Ahmad, and allrounder Sharafuddin Ashraf will travel with the side to the UAE as reserves. However, there was no place for Ihsanullah Janat, who had made his T20I debut earlier this year against Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan are currently in Ireland for a five-match T20I series. Having lost the first two matches, Afghanistan won the next two to set up a decider in Belfast on Wednesday, after which the team will leave for the UAE. Afghanistan are in Group B at the tournament, and will open their campaign on August 27 against Sri Lanka in Dubai, before taking on Bangladesh in Sharjah on August 30.