Noor Ahmad returns to Afghanistan ODI squad for Pakistan series

Teenager Noor Ahmad appears to be in Afghanistan’s Asia Cup and World Cup plans having been called up to play a three-match ODI series against Pakistan. These matches, scheduled for August 22, 24 and 26, will be played in Sri Lanka and are the only ODIs on Afghanistan’s docket before they embark on the two biggest tournaments of the year in September and October.
Noor, 18, has only played three ODIs for his country since making his debut in November 2022. He has, however, been one of the brightest talents on the franchise T20 circuit and gained considerable acclaim playing for Gujarat Titans in the IPL this year. The left-arm wristspinner at times out bowled senior pro Rashid Khan to finish with 16 wickets in the tournament.

Noor has also been part of the Big Bash League in Australia, the Pakistan Super League and the Hundred in England as well. Although he wasn’t with Afghanistan during their most recent ODIs during the tour of Bangladesh last month, he did play two of the three matches against Sri Lanka in June 2023. Those, however, were chastening experiences for both him and the team. Afghanistan were beaten after going 1-0 up and Noor took just two wickets in 17 overs at an average of 62 and an economy rate of 7.29.

A bulk of the squad that made history by winning their first bilateral ODI series against Bangladesh have been retained. Izharulhaq Naveed, Nijat Masood and Zia-ur-Rehman, however, did not make the cut.

ACB chief selector Asadullah Khan said: “Our whole concentration is to prepare the team for the upcoming two big events of Asia Cup and the World Cup 2023. This three-match ODI series against Pakistan provides us with a wonderful opportunity to prepare the team for the forthcoming two events.

“The preparations for the Pakistan series are progressing well; the players have recently performed well in the Kabul Camp, which has been supervised by ACB’s high performance centre staff. The team will also undergo a week-long conditioning camp prior to the Pakistan series.”

Afghanistan and Pakistan have only met each other four times in ODIs, and never in an actual bilateral series. At the end of these three games, Afghanistan have about a week’s gap before the start of the Asia Cup, where their campaign begins against Bangladesh in Lahore on September 3.


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