Fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq, who last featured in an ODI match in January 2021, has received a call-up to represent Afghanistan in the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup, scheduled to commence in India next month.
In January 2022, Naveen had announced his temporary hiatus from ODI cricket, resulting in his absence from their 50-over squads ever since.
However, he has been given a call-up for the mega event after 20 months to bolster Afghanistan's formidable pace attack, which also features the likes of Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, and the versatile all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai.
Omarzai, who had to contend with a side strain during Afghanistan's ODI series against Pakistan in August, makes a welcome return to the team after his absence during the Asia Cup.
The responsibility of spearheading Afghanistan's spin department will once again fall upon the seasoned Rashid Khan, who will be supported by Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Noor Ahmad.
The top-order batting lineup for Afghanistan will consist of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, and Rahmat Shah, with the team's captain, Hashmatullah Shahidi, poised to occupy the pivotal No. 4 spot. The middle order will be strengthened by Najibullah Zadran.
Gulbadin Naib named as a reserve player
Gulbadin Naib and Sharafuddin Ashraf, both of whom played vital roles in Afghanistan's Asia Cup campaign, have earned their spots as reserves for the World Cup squad.
Along with them, Fareed Ahmad, who contributed to the series against Pakistan, joins them on the reserve list.
The 32-year-old showcased his prowess during his ODI comeback in the recent three-match series against Pakistan in August. He made a significant impact by dismissing both openers in the third ODI and followed it up with a splendid four-wicket haul against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.
Karim Janat and Mohammad Saleem, two players who featured prominently in Afghanistan's Asia Cup campaign, have not found a place in the World Cup squad and have been excluded.
Afghanistan's World Cup campaign is scheduled to kick off on October 7th with a match against Bangladesh in Dharamsala. Prior to this, they will participate in two warm-up fixtures, facing South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on September 29th, followed by a clash with Sri Lanka in Guwahati on October 3rd.
Afghanistan squad for World Cup 2023
Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Abdul Rahman, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq
Reserves- Gulbadin Naib, Sharafudin Ashraf, Farid Ahmad Malik