Afghanistan’s star opener and wicketkeeper has been ruled out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after suffering a knee injury, tournament organisers revealed on Thursday.
Shahzad, known for his big-hitting at the top of the order for Afghanistan, suffered the knee injury at the time of Afghanistan's warm-up match against Pakistan last month. While he took the field in Afghanistan's 1st 2 matches of the World Cup against Australia and Sri Lanka, an aggravation of the knee injury has forced the 32-year-old out of the World Cup.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Shahzad will be replaced by Ikram Ali Khil in a blow to the World Cup, who have lost their opening two matches.
Shahzad’s injury comes as a huge disappointment for the team, as he was one of their top-scorers since last World Cup in 2015.
He was far from expressive with the bat as Afghanistan got off to a poor start in the World Cup losing their first two games on the lope. He was dismissed on a duck as Afghanistan lost their opening encounter by seven wickets against Australia before scoring 7 runs off 12 balls against Sri Lanka as his team faced a 34-run defeat.
“The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 has assent Ikram Ali Khil will be substituting for Shahzad in the Afghanistan squad for the remainder of the tournament,” an ICC release said.
Ikram Ali Khil is a peerless 18-year-old batsman and has played 2 ODIs for Afghanistan up to this point, having to construct his ODI debut against Ireland in Dehradun in March 2019.
He is expected to play a vital role in his side's, driven in the ongoing event, was also involved in Afghanistan's U-19 World Cup squad in 2018. He scored 185 runs in those four matches.