Rashid Khan, the 20-year-old leg-spinner, has been appointed Afghanistan captain for all three formats, the Afghanistan Cricket Board announced on Friday, 12 July.
Rashid replaces Gulbadin Naib, who had been named captain of the ODI team, as part of a new split-captaincy system, shortly before the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. Rahmat Shah was given the Test leadership mantle, while Rashid was already in charge of the T20I team. Rashid’s appointment, however, means that Rahmat concedes the Test captaincy even before having officially led the team in a match.
The ACB further announced that Asghar Afghan, who had been captain across all three formats before the introduction of the split-captaincy, will serve as Rashid’s deputy.
The latest leadership overhaul comes following a forgettable World Cup campaign for Afghanistan. The Naib-led side lost all of their nine games in the tournament. They came close to beating India and Pakistan, but eventually fell short and ended their campaign with zero points.
Naib’s own struggles exemplified his team’s campaign. Though he was the team’s second highest wicket-taker, Naib’s nine scalps came at 46.66 apiece, and his 65.4 overs cost 420 runs – the highest for any bowler from his side.
Naib’s winless World Cup campaign was in stark contrast to the success of his predecessor Afghan, under whom Afghanistan became a hugely successful T20I side. Afghan also led the team through their memorable campaign at last year’s 50-over Asia Cup, where they picked up wins over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, came close to beating Pakistan, and held India to a tie.
Afghan was also at the helm when Afghanistan picked up their maiden Test win earlier this year, against Ireland in Dehradun. Despite those achievements, and his experience as both a leader and a player, however, Afghan ended up playing in only six of Afghanistan’s nine matches under Naib at the World Cup.
Rashid’s first assignment as Afghanistan captain will be a one-off Test against Bangladesh in September, followed by a tri-series featuring Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Afghanistan will then host West Indies for a full tour, comprising three T20Is, three ODIs and a one-off Test.