Sharjah: Afghanistan on Saturday picked Hamid Hassan in their 15-man squad for next month's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, hoping the frontline paceman recovers from surgery in time.
The 25-year-old, nicknamed "Rambo of Afghanistan cricket", after Hollywood action hero Sylvester Stallone for his aggressive and hard-working nature, underwent a knee operation and was in danger of losing his place.
But Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Hamid Shinwari said Hassan is recovering fast and will attain full fitness before the tournament starts in Sri Lanka on September 18.
"We have selected Hassan with a confidence that he will attain full fitness before the tournament starts and he can get match fitness on our tour to the West Indies early next month," Shinwari said.
Afghanistan will play Trinidad and Tobago and Bangladesh in a Twenty20 tri-series early next month before competing in the World Twenty20. They are placed in Group A along with holders England and India in the 12-team World Twenty20. Hassan took 12 wickets in Afghanistan's qualification for the World Twenty20 held in the West Indies in 2010 but has since struggled with fitness problems.
He took two wickets for an ICC Combined XI against England in a three-day match in Dubai in January before hurting his knee. He has so far taken 24 wickets in 14 one-dayers and an impressive 14 in eight Twenty20 matches.
Afghanistan lost both their matches in the 2010 World Twenty20 to India and South Africa but Shinwari hoped his team will be more competitive this time.
"We have a very competitive team and I hope that they will put up a better show in this year's event," said Shinwari.
Afghanistan squad: Nawroz Mangal (capt), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Izzatullah Dawlatzai, Karim Sadeq, Mohammad Javed Ahmadi, Mohammad Nasim Baras, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shehzad, Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shapur Zadran.