When is Afghanistan v Pakistan in Sharjah and are tickets available?
Afghanistan and Pakistan are set to meet in a three-game T20 international series in Sharjah.
While the Afghans played UAE in a series in Abu Dhabi last month, it will be the first time Pakistan have played the format since losing to England in the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne in November.
Who is playing?
The rival teams will be captained by two leading leg-spin bowling all-rounders in world cricket. Rashid Khan is leading the nominal home team, fresh from playing a starring role helping Lahore Qalandars to win the Pakistan Super League, while Shadab Khan will be filling in for Babar Azam.
The Afghans have retained the majority of the side who beat UAE 2-1 in the capital, including Karim Janat, the all-rounder who was the player of the series back then.
They also welcome back former captain – and local resident – Mohammed Nabi, who lives in Ajman.
Pakistan’s experimental line-up includes Abdullah Shafique. It is the batter’s first tour to UAE, where he has close family ties. His father Shafiq works as a cricket coach in Dubai, where his uncle, former UAE international Arshad Ali, also lives.
Who is not playing?
Following directly on from the PSL, and with a heavy workload of international cricket besides, Pakistan have rested a number of senior players for the tour.
Babar, their regular captain, along with Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammed Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi have all been given time off.
Asif Ali, who was the centre of controversy the last time these sides met in a fractious Asia Cup game in Sharjah, as well as Haider Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Khushdil Shah have been all been dropped from the side who last played T20 cricket.
What will the atmosphere be like?
The two neighbouring countries have only met three times in T20 international cricket – each occasion in the UAE.
All the matches have attracted a febrile atmosphere beyond the boundary rope.
Their T20 World Cup in Dubai in 2021 led the ICC to order an investigation into the crowd unrest, after a surge outside the ground left hundreds of ticketless fans unable to enter.
When they met again in Sharjah in the Asia Cup last year, Ramiz Raja – who was then the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board – termed disorder in the stands “hooliganism”.
“Both nations have passionate fans who support their teams with enthusiasm and pride,” Naseeb Khan, the chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, said ahead of the T20I series.
“As neighbours, we have a special bond and we hope to showcase not only our cricketing skills but also the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship.”
All games start at 8pm UAE
Friday March 24 – 1st T20I
Sunday March 26 – 2nd T20I
Monday March 27 – 3rd T20I
Afghanistan Rashid Khan (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Sediqullah Atal, Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Karim Janat, Mohammed Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Fareed Ahmad, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Naveen Ul Haq
Pakistan Shadab Khan (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammed Haris, Mohammed Nawaz, Mohammed Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Zaman Khan
Tickets are available online at: https://sharjah.platinumlist.net/event-tickets/86745/t-20-international-cricket-sharjah-cricket-stadium