Naveen returns, Naib axed from Afghanistan World Cup squad

Published September 14, 2023
Afghanistan players celebrate a wicket during the first Twenty20 International against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.—courtesy ACB/File
Afghanistan players celebrate a wicket during the first Twenty20 International against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.—courtesy ACB/File

KABUL: Afghanistan recalled fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq in the 15-man World Cup squad announced on Wednesday, but all-rounder Gulbadin Naib was dropped despite recent good performance.

Naib, 32, led Afghanistan in the last World Cup held in England four years ago where the team lost all nine matches and he was sacked.

But the medium-pacer took seven wickets in the last three ODIs, including 4-60 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup encounter in Lahore last week.

Naveen played the last of his seven ODIs against Ireland in January 2021.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said the squad is strong and is expected to do well.

“Naveen-ul-Haq returned to the Afghanistan ODI squad after a two-year gap for the World Cup in India and it is a strong squad,” read the ACB release.

Hashmatullah Shahidi leads the squad that has four changes following a two-match loss in the Asia Cup and a 3-0 series sweep against Pakistan in Sri Lanka.

Besides Naib, also out are Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Suliman Safi.

Afghanistan open their 2023 World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in Dharamsala in India on Oct 7.

Afghanistan will hope their spin quartet of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad do well on the spin pitches of India.

Squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2023

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