Afghanistan’s established No 3, new Test skipper, and of late the only consistent pick in the batting order with the exception of the captain, Rahmat Shah has become a dependable presence at first drop for Afghanistan since cementing his place in the side in 2016 with a crucial, unbeaten ODI century against Scotland at Edinburgh in the 2013-17 World Cricket League Championship.
Afghanistan’s second-place finish in that competition saw them elevated to permanent ODI status and eventually Full Membership, and Shah has seemingly had little trouble raising his game since his ton at the Grange, with all of his 15 ODI 50+ scores since coming against (current) Full Member opposition, including two further centuries – against Ireland and Zimbabwe. His three fifties in the World Cup Qualifier, one against Zimbabwe and two against the West Indies, were critical to Afghanistan’s remarkable recovery to win the tournament after being all-but arithmetically eliminated at the group stages, and though he curiously struggled again when facing Afghanistan’s former Associate peers, there will be none of them to worry about in England this summer.
A compact and busy presence at the crease, Shah is unafraid to use his feet to spinners and has a fair array of shots. Shah is one of the few members of this Afghan squad who look more at home in the longest format of the game. With plenty of First Class experience in Pakistan before getting his Afghan call-up, he averages almost 50 in red ball cricket and fell two runs short of becoming his country’s first Test centurion against Ireland at Dehradun in March. His role in the ODI side is likely to be as anchor to the innings, though he is capable of clearing the ropes if the situation or the ball warrant it.
Shah is an experienced and versatile middle-order bat, equally capable of steadying the innings or pressing the advantage.