Rashid Khan steps down as Afghanistan captain, hours after being named skipper for T20 World Cup

In a shocking decision, Rashid Khan on Thursday stepped down as the captain of the Afghanistan team, saying that his opinion was not sought before finalising the national squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Early in the day, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) named Rashid as the captain while veteran wicket-keeper Mohammad Shahzad was also included in the 15-member squad for the showpiece event, starting next month.

“As the captain and responsible person for the nation I reserve the right to be part of the selection of the team,” the 22-year-old spinner said in a post shared on his Twitter handle. “The selection committee and ACB has not obtained my consent for the team which has been announced by ACB media. I am taking the decision of stepping down from the role as the captain of Afghanistan T20 side effective immediately. It’s always my proud playing for Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan has been in turmoil following the take over of the country by Taliban. The star leg-spinner was named as T20 captain in July with the World Cup in mind.

Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday made it clear that it will not host the Afghanistan men’s team next month if women are not allowed to play the game under Taliban rule. The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in the UAE from October 17 to November 14.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and the board will discuss the impact this might have on the continued development of the game in the country. “The ICC is committed to the long-term growth of women’s cricket and despite the cultural and religious challenges in Afghanistan, steady progress had been made in this area since Afghanistan’s admission as a Full Member in 2017,” an ICC official spokesperson told news agency ANI.

“The ICC has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket. This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC Board at its next meeting,” the spokesperson added.