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With quality aplenty, Afghanistan dare to dream

(SATSports) – Afghanistan have enjoyed an astounding rise up the international cricket pecking order, taking huge strides at a rapid pace. Having familiarity with the conditions in the UAE where they have played the majority of their cricket, will the Asian side make a deep run in the tournament, springing a major surprise or two along the way?

Ever since their tournament debut at the 2010 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean, it has been a story of constantly striving for improvement. While some of the faces of old still remain becoming a cornerstone of Afghan cricket, new stars have emerged, forging the side into a steely unit, capable of competing with the best that international cricket has to offer. The 2021 edition in UAE and Oman will be another parameter where Afghanistan will gauge their current standing in the global game while charting their progress in international cricket. 

Ahead of their opening fixture on 26 October, we take a deep look into their squad for the tournament. Producing their best in the shortest format has always been Afghanistan’s forte. It is the format in which they have revelled the most and can boast of having some of the most dangerous T20 players in their artillery. Ever since gaining ICC’s Affiliate status in 2001, Afghanistan cricket has come by leaps and bounds and are a genuine force to be reckoned with in T20 cricket. They have a formidable record in T20 cricket, having played 84 matches and having won 58 of them, with a 69.64 win percentage. 

With the 2016 edition of the tournament being their best one so far, 2021 will present them with another opportunity to make further inroads in international cricket on the global stage. 

With the conditions in UAE expected to be conducive for the spinners, Afghanistan have the perfect attack to exploit them to the maximum. Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi will form a fearsome spin trio, with two of them being able to make handy contributions with the bat as well.   

Hazaratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran and the returning Mohammad Shahzad will also provide some explosiveness in the batting order. The presence of the veteran Asghar Afghan will also be a calming influence in the dressing room. 

The stage is perfectly set up for Afghanistan to make a big dash in the UAE. 

The Squad

Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmed

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