Asghar Afghan’s fine career comes to an end

By our correspondent

DUBAI: Former Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan’s retirement decision during the ICC T20 World Cup has surprised everyone. The news also shocked Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi.  Announcing retirement during the event does not make any sense. But the 33-year old Kabul-born batsman did this which shocked his fans in particular. He scored 31 from 23 balls in his last match against Namibia on Sunday which Afghanistan won by 62 runs. He was given guard of honour by his team and Namibia as a successful career came to an end.

Asghar could not hold back his emotions while speaking with a broadcaster. Asked why he announced retirement in the middle of the tournament Asghar said: “This is the question everyone asks and one cannot explain everything. The last match outcome had hurt me. I want to give opportunity to the youngsters. It’s a perfect time to do so. The way we brought Afghanistan cricket to this stage I hope youngsters will carry this onwards,” Asghar said.

“Its not difficult for a player when he is dropped from the national team but its very painful moment when a cricketer leaves cricket and those former cricketers sitting around and listening to me can understand this,” he said. “I am thankful to those Afghans who backed me at difficult times and even I am thankful to those who criticized me as that helped me address my weaknesses,” said Asghar, who could not hold his emotions.

“Afghanistan have tough matches ahead and I hope Afghanistan people will back their team,” the former skipper said.  Asghar captained his country in their first-ever Test match against India in 2018 and at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2016.

At the time of his retirement, he holds the record for the most wins as captain in T20 internationals having led his team to victory in 42 games.

Asghar has played six tests, scoring 440 runs at an average of 44, also featuring one century (164) and three fifties. In his 114 ODIs Asghar scored 2424 runs at an average of 24.73 and his fine effort also includes one century (101) and 12 fifties. In 75 T20I he scored 1382 runs at an average of 21.93 and with the virtue of four fifties. He also holds a record of captaining his side in consecutive 46 T20 international games. He is at No2 in the world for playing 64 successive T20 matches for Afghanistan.

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