Guangzhou: Afghanistan have named all-rounder Mohammad Nabi as captain for their Asian Games campaign, replacing Nawroz Mangal.
Despite being stripped of the captaincy, Mangal, under whose leadership Afghanistan gained one-day international status and qualified for the 2010 World Twenty20, has kept his place in the 14-man squad for the tournament that gets underway on Saturday.
Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Hamid Shinwari said: “We have played 16 one-day internationals but we could only win nine.
“Therefore we thought the burden of captaincy is too heavy on Nawroz and Nabi is the next best choice."
Mangal came under pressure after Afghanistan’s series defeat against Kenya in October and his own performances have been disappointing, with four successive scores of under 10.
Team manager Nazijar Abdul Rahimzai said the change in leadership was unlikely to affect Afghanistan’s preparations for Guangzhou.
“They (Mangal and Nabi) are still close friends and every player is participating regularly in the training," he said.
Cricket is being played for the first time at the Asian Games, with organisers building a 12,000-seater cricket-specific stadium at the Guangdong University of Technology to host the tournament.
Cricket was last seen at a major multi-sport event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.