Afghanistan's ace spinner Rashid Khan will make his comeback from the three-match T20I series against India beginning next week, as the landlocked country announced a 19-member squad on Saturday.
Khan will make his first appearance since the conclusion of last year's ODI World Cup. However, his on-field appearance is still in doubt as he is recovering from back surgery.
Afghanistan batter Ibrahim Zadran has been named the skipper for the series. The opening batter recently led Afghanistan to a 2-1 win in the T20I series over the UAE.
Meanwhile, Ikram Alikhil also returns to the squad after being named among the reserves in the UAE series. Along with him, spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman also returns after missing the T20I series in the UAE. Mujeeb was a part of the Big Bash League franchise Melbourne Renegades, but his season ended as his No Objection Certificate (NOC) was revoked by the Afghanistan Cricket Board after he expressed his desire to be left off the central contract list.
"We believe that AfghanAtalan are no longer underdogs" - Mirwais Ashraf
"We are delighted to be embarking on our maiden tour to India for a three-match series. India is the top-ranked side in the world and it's very pleasing to witness AfghanAtalan competing in a three-match T20I against them. We believe that AfghanAtalan are no longer underdogs & have excelled well in the recent past and we look forward to a highly competitive series against India," Mirwais Ashraf, the ACB chairman, said in a statement.
Afghanistan's maiden bilateral series will kick off on January 11 in Mohali; the second game will be played on January 14 in Indore; and the series will conclude on January 17 in Bengaluru.
Afghanistan's T20I squad to face India:
Ibrahim Zadran (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ikram Alikhil (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmaullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan.