Ghaffar named in England team
Aamir Ghaffar, the Afghanistan-raised player who made an England debut while the Western Allies were bombing his birthplace of Jalalabad, has earned a further chance to make his name.
The 23-year-old from Middlesex has been included in three of England's five matches against the world's leading badminton nation, China, starting on Friday.
Ghaffar had other distractions during his debut in the corresponding fixture last year, as it required him to play while fasting in the holy month of Ramadan.
Unsurprisingly under those circumstances he was beaten, but Ghaffar has since climbed to 39th in the world rankings, an improvement which has encouraged the Badminton Association of England to offer him a tournament schedule designed to launch him towards the top 20.
"We are giving him a chance to prove himself over the next six months because he is close to a significant breakthrough," said England's performance director Finn Traerup.
"He has been very good in training and has been refining elements in his game.
"We also have injuries to Mark Constable and Andrew South, so he is a good choice to take over."
Ghaffar will play in the first three matches of the China tour, at Portsmouth, Exeter and Norwich, on Friday, Saturday and Monday. The series is completed at Sheffield on Tuesday and Chester on Wednesday.