KABUL: Afghanistan’s World Cup preparations were thrown off kilter when they controversially decided to replace successful captain Asghar Afghan with the little-known Gulbadin Naib two months before the tournament.
Under Asghar, Afghanistan had made serious progress, beating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at last year’s Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates and even tying a game with India at the tournament.
Asghar was confident his spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi could dismantle any team once they had a fighting total on the board.
Seven months later the skipper was unceremoniously dethroned, upsetting matchwinners Rashid and Nabi weeks before only Afghanistan’s second appearance in the global 50-over showpiece.
“With just months to go for such a mega event like the World Cup, changing the captain will cause uncertainty and also team morale will be affected,” said Rashid, who was made Twenty20 captain.
“Asghar should remain as our team captain. His captaincy is highly instrumental for team success.”
Former captain Nabi supported Rashid’s views publicly on social media.
“I don’t think it’s the right time to change the captain before the WC. The team has gelled really well under Ashgar & personally feel he is the right man to lead us,” tweeted Nabi.
Afghanistan’s former coach Kabir Khan said the change could have a negative impact on the team.