KKR star added to national squad for India T20Is despite rift with Board
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the renowned Afghan spinner and Kolkata Knight Riders' latest recruit, has been included in the national team squad for the upcoming high-profile three-match T20I series against India. This inclusion comes despite recent tensions between Mujeeb and the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB).
Mujeeb's recent history with the ACB has been fraught with challenges. He, along with teammates Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq, initially refused to sign the central contract for 2024, showcasing a rift within the team. Further intensifying the situation, Mujeeb chose to participate in the Big Bash League tournament, foregoing the T20I series against the UAE. This decision led the ACB to revoke his No Objection Certificate, curtailing his stint in the BBL and raising questions about his future with the national team.
Despite these hurdles, Mujeeb's inclusion in the squad marks a significant reconciliation and a boost for the team. The 22-year-old spinner is expected to play a crucial role in the series against India, given his prowess and experience in international cricket.
The Afghanistan squad, led by Ibrahim Zadran, features a mix of experienced and emerging talents. Rashid Khan, the regular T20I captain, is part of the 19-member squad, but his participation remains uncertain due to recent back surgery. The presence of Ikram Alikhil as the backup wicket-keeper batter and the return of Mujeeb add depth to the team.
The ACB chairman, Mirwais Ashraf, expressed his enthusiasm about the series: "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."
The series, which is set to begin in Mohali on January 11, followed by matches in Indore and Bengaluru, presents an exciting challenge for Afghanistan. The team, currently ranked 10th in the T20I format, faces India, the top-ranked T20I team, in what promises to be a thrilling cricketing encounter.
Afghanistan's squad, rich in talent and potential, will aim to make a strong statement against the formidable Indian team. The inclusion of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, despite recent controversies, underscores the team's focus on strength and unity as they prepare for this historic series.