Afghanistan will be keen to find their feet under Gulbadin Naib, and use the one-day internationals against Scotland to get used to conditions they can expect in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
Scotland v Afghanistan
The Grange, Edinburgh
Wednesday, 8 May; 11:00am local, 10:00am GMT
Afghanistan's World Cup preparation got a bit of a shake-up when the selectors decided to go with a leadership change ahead of the marquee tournament. The team, under Gulbadin Naib, had some time to come together in training camps in South Africa, and now their work will be put to the test against Scotland in a two-match ODI series.
"We go into the series with a lot of confidence and we are ready to face the challenge of a strong Afghanistan unit." 💬— Cricket Scotland (@CricketScotland) May 5, 2019
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Their next challenge will be to quickly get used to the conditions. Their spinners won't find much assistance from them, and with games against Ireland to follow before the World Cup, it will be a test for them to find a workaround.
Scotland are playing their first ODI since June 2018. Afghanistan's higher ranking – No.7 on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings as against their own No.12 – will only drive them, as it did when they took on, and defeated, No.1-ranked England last summer.
The uncapped medium-pacer Gavin Main has received a call-up, while off-spinner Tom Sole and pacer Brad Wheal have come in to strengthen the bowling. They too have a new man in charge: this will be the first international assignment for new head coach Shane Burger.
Players to watch
Asghar Afghan (Afghanistan): The former captain is set to play his 100th ODI, and will become only the second man from his country, after Mohammad Nabi, to reach the landmark. The selectors have clarified that despite being stripped of the captaincy, Afghan is still a vital part of the side. With half-centuries in his three previous ODI innings, against Ireland, he will create an Afghanistan record if he can add one more to that tally.
Kyle Coetzer (Scotland): The Scotland captain has defined the positive, aggressive style of cricket that his team is keen to play. Having upset England last year and won the T20 quadrangular in Oman, he'll want the team to take another step forward. This will also be an opportunity to rectify his own numbers, which have been up and down in recent times.
It's set to be cold and rainy in Edinburgh. Mid-day temperatures are forecast at 7°C, with rain expected through the day.
Scotland: Kyle Coetzer (c), Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross (wk), Alasdair Evans, Michael Jones, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Tom Sole, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman