Nawroz Mangal retires from international cricket

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Nazroz Mangal represented Afghanistan in international cricket from 2009 to 2016 © AFP

Nawroz Mangal, under whose leadership Afghanistan secured ODI status in the 2009 World Cup Qualifiers and then qualified for the 2010 World T20, has retired from international cricket to take up a role as the national chief selector.

Mangal, 32, played 49 ODI and 30 T20Is for Afghanistan, making 1139 runs and 454 runs respectively. When Afghanistan played their first international against Oman 13 years ago, Mangal was a part of the XI.

He now finishes as one of five Afghanistan players to have passed 1000 runs in ODI cricket. He struck two ODI hundreds; the first of which – 112 not out off 96 balls while opening the batting – guided the team to a seven-wicket win in the ICC World Cricket League Championship in 2012-13.

Mangal, who took over as captain in 2007, handed the reins to Mohammad Nabi in November 2010 but remained a fixture in the team’s line-up, gaining a second chance at leading the team before once again giving up the role to Nabi in March 2013 in order to focus on his own batting.

Two years later, he hit a chanceless half-century against Papua New Guinea to seal Afghanistan’s spot in the World T20 in India in 2016.

He, however, did not make the squad for the tournament in India. His last international was against Bangladesh in Mirpur in October last year. Opening the batting, he hit a 38-ball 33, but Afghanistan slid to a 141-run defeat.

His retirement leaves a significant hole in the middle order. Shafiqullah Stanikzai, the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s chief executive officer, however, welcomed Mangal’s experience in the selection panel.

“He [Mangal] is a senior and legendary cricketer in Afghanistan cricket,” Stanikzai told ESPNcricinfo. “Selection is something which is very important and it requires a well-respected individual. Since cricket is very huge in the country and every Afghan is believed to be a stakeholder in cricket we needed a figure of his stature.

“So for the last six months we were in discussion with Nawroz to step down from his position as a player and accept the role as a chief selector. He, after consulting with friends, family and all stakeholders, has accepted the contract-based job, which is likely to run for two years. It’s an honour for Afghanistan cricket that a player like Nawroz, who has a big fan following and respect among others, is the chief selector.”

Mangal’s first assignment as Afghanistan’s chief selector is to the pick the squad for the Desert T20 tournament to be held in the UAE from January 14 to 20. Apart from UAE and Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman and Scotland will take part in the tournament.

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