The Shpageeza Cricket League has kickstarted with much fanfare. The first day of the Afghan T20 league saw a thrilling tie between Amo Sharks and Speen Ghar Tigers who won the match in the Super Over. The Shpageeza Cricket League promises a lot of excitement and fun in the coming days. There are also cricketers from Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan playing in this T20 league. Cricwizz takes a look at the top five Afghanistan players to watch out for in this league.
Rashid Khan: He is coming off a successful season with 2017 Caribbean Premier League and would look to carry off that momentum into the Shpageeza Cricket League. He took 14 wickets in 12 games, including a hat-trick against Jamaica Tallawahs, in the CPL. He will be dangerous when bowling on home conditions. He is also 8 wickets shy of 100 wickets in T20 cricket. He is captaining Band-e-Amir Dragons, which is being coached by Umesh Patwal of India. Rashid’s team has a few quality local players with foreign cricketers such as Denesh Ramdin of West Indies, Luke Jongwe of Zimbabwe, Glenton Anric Stuurman of South Africa expected to bridge the gap between youth and experience.
Asghar Stanikzai: He is captaining Kabul Eagles in Shpageeza Cricket League 2017. Asghar is also the skipper of the Afghanistan national team. Hence, he has the experience to lead his team in Shpageeza Cricket League with aplomb. They have few players in the squad who have played for the Afghanistan national team. Besides, Eagles has Solomon Mire of Zimbabwe who recently hogged headlines for his brilliant batting against Sri Lanka. Stanikzai has a good chance of taking his team across the finish line. Eagles is coached by Augustin Logie of West Indies.
Mohammad Nabi: He too had a fruitful season in 2017 CPL. He starred with both bat and ball with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. He has the best strike rate among cricketers who played at least 10 matches in 2017 CPL. He also took vital wickets in the competition. In Shpageeza Cricket League, he is captaining Mis Ainak Nights, which is being coached by Andrew Moles of England. Eagles has three Zimbabwe players – Ryan Burl, Vusi Sibanda and Raza Butt – in their squad.
Shafiqullah Shafaq: He led the Afghanistan ‘A’ team for the tri-series in South Africa. Although Afghanistan failed to win any match in the series, it was a good experience of Shafaq. He is known for his big hitting. He slammed 71-ball 214 with 21 sixes and 16 fours in a domestic T20 tournament in July this year. He would look to instill that fearless approach in his boys when he captains Speenghar Tigers, which is being coached by highly successful former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs.
Samiullah Shenwari: He is playing for Speenghar Tigers under the captaincy of Shafiqullah Shafaq. Shenwari needs no introduction in Afghanistan cricket. He has the knack of scoring runs when the chips are down and everything is lost. He has on many instances taken the team past the finish line when defeat was looming large. He helped Afghanistan notched up their first-ever World Cup win when he cracked 96 to steer the team to the succesful chase against Scotland. His experience and runs will be crucial to Tigers’ success in the competition.