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Afghanistan appoints Malekzai as interim cricket chief selector

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KABUL: Former middle-order batter Noor-ul-Haq Malekzai has been named chief selector of the national cricket team by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB).

He was serving in the role temporarily for over three months and was officially handed over the responsibilities on Monday, an ACB statement said.

“Malekzai has had quite an impressive tenure as the acting chief selector and has shown great spirit during the selection of the teams for the U19 Asia Cup & World Cup as well as for our recent squad selections for the Netherlands and Bangladesh series,” ACB CEO Naseeb Khan said in a statement. “I would like to congratulate him and wish him all the very best for the future.”

The most recent squads Afghanistan’s selection panel picked was for the T20Is and ODIs in Bangladesh. They left out some big names like Mohammad Shahzad, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, and Hashmatullah Shahidi for the T20Is. For the ODIs, they left out Sharafuddin Ashraf and Usman Ghani, who were part of the squad for the series against the Netherlands in January.

Noor said he would be keeping an eye on both the short-term and long-term needs of the team.

“We have a busy 2022 year ahead and as a team, we will be working on to not only address our short-term needs but also achieve our long-term goals,” he said. “We have enormous talent in the country and it is important that they are provided with proper opportunities.”

Noor played two ODIs for Afghanistan in 2010, one against Scotland and another against Kenya, but scored only 12 runs overall. He also featured in two editions of the Under-19 World Cup, in 2010 and 2012. Throughout his career, Noor played 18 first-class matches, 13 List A games, and eight T20s.

The ACB had also named Stuart Law as their interim head coach for the Bangladesh tour. The board has started the recruitment process for hiring a new permanent head coach.

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