Afghanistan on Wednesday announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup, which gets underway next month. Naveen-ul-Haq, who had grabbed plenty of headlines in IPL 2023 for his on-field tension with Virat Kohli, is part of the 15-member squad. He makes a return to Afghanistan’s ODI set-up after a gap of two years.
Meanwhile, Gulbadin Naib, who was impressive in the Asia Cup, failed to make the cut.
Hashmatullah Shahidi will lead the Afghan unit in the showpiece event. They have made a total of four changes from the team, which took part at the Asia Cup. Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Suliman Safi also miss out aside from Naib.
Azmatullah Omarzai makes a comeback after a long injury lay-off, which kept him sidelined from the Asia Cup.
Naveen, who will be in spotlight especially against India, has played only seven ODIs till date, in which he has accounted for 14 wickets at an average of 25.42.
Janat, who was earlier recalled into the ODI mix at the Asia Cup after a six-year gap, was dropped.
Naib, on the other hand, showed good form in the Asia Cup and the bilateral series against Pakistan, which was held right before the continental tournament.
With the World Cup scheduled to be held in India, one thing that Afghanistan has done right is stack up the spin department with some of the best spinners, featuring Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, apart from Mujeeb ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad.
Naveen alongwith Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman and Omarzai will shoulder the resposibility in the pace department.
Afghanistan World Cup squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), 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.
Afghanistan’s recent outings and World Cup fixtures:
Afghanistan failed to advance to the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup but did manage to give Sri Lanka some tension, who eventually did by stopping the former from chasing 292-run target in less than 38 overs.
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi then played some blazing hits, and with the potential they have instore opponents certainly cannot take them lightly.
Afghanistan will engage in a warm-up fixture against Sri Lanka on October 3, and will then get their campaign underway against Bangladesh in Dharamshala.