Shirzad replaces Alam in Afghanistan squad under ‘exceptional circumstances’

Aftab Alam will not take any further part in Afghanistan's World Cup campaign © AFP

ICC has approved Sayed Ahmad Shirzad as a replacement player for Aftab Alam in Afghanistan’s World Cup squad for the rest of the tournament. The official release mentioned that Alam has been let go from the squad “in exceptional circumstances.” Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) later clarified that Alam has been sent back home following his breach of ICC’s disciplinary code of conduct but didn’t elaborate on what the breach exactly was.

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“The decision to send Alam back from England has been taken under exceptional circumstances taking into account both ICC and ACB’s code of conduct rules and regulations. The decision stops Alam from further participating in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 as he will be under investigation by ACB for the alleged misconduct off the field,” the release on Thursday (June 27) further stated.

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Alam, a right-arm pacer, played three matches in the tournament, picking four wickets; three of them came against New Zealand. Shirzad, on the other hand, is a left-arm fast bowler who debuted against Ireland in March this year but couldn’t bat or bowl in a no-result game in Dehradun. He’ll travel to England on Friday.

The player swap is the latest in a tumultuous World Cup campaign for Afghanistan. Gulbadin Naib replaced Asghar Afghan as the captain of the side before the tournament, leading to friction in the side. Mohammad Shahzad was then ruled out of the tournament due to injury, only for the opener to publicly declare that his ouster has nothing to do with fitness.

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The distractions haven’t allowed Afghanistan to be their best selves in England, and now languish at the bottom of the table. They have lost all their seven games so far and are already out of contention from reaching the semifinals.