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Naveen-ul-Haq Makes a Comeback as Afghanistan Announces Squad for 2023 World Cup

Naveen-ul-Haq returns to Afghanistan’s 2023 World Cup squad after missing the Asia Cup, joining Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi’s team, which includes emerging talent Azmatullah Omarzai, while several Asia Cup players are omitted.

In a surprising turn of events, Naveen-ul-Haq has made a triumphant return to the Afghanistan cricket squad for the upcoming 2023 World Cup, set to be hosted in India. This announcement comes after his absence from the team during the Asia Cup. The 15-member squad, captained by Hashmatullah Shahidi, also includes the promising 23-year-old all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai, who was not part of the Asia Cup squad.

The selection decision meant that Gulbadin Naib, Riaz Hassan, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, and Mohammad Saleem Safi, who represented Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, failed to secure their spots in the World Cup squad. However, Naib and Ashraf have been named as traveling reserves for the World Cup, alongside Farid Ahmad Malik.

The Afghanistan squad for the 2023 World Cup includes:

  1. Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain)
  2. Ibrahim Zadran
  3. Rahmanullah Gurbaz (Wicket-Keeper)
  4. Rahmat Shah
  5. Najibullah Zadran
  6. Mohammad Nabi
  7. Ikram Alikhil
  8. Azmatullah Omarzai
  9. Rashid Khan
  10. Abdul Rahman
  11. Noor Ahmad
  12. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman
  13. Fazalhaq Farooqi
  14. Naveen-ul-Haq
  15. Riaz Hassan

Afghanistan’s performance in the recent Asia Cup saw them exit the tournament early after losses to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. They came close to a victory against Sri Lanka in a high-scoring match but fell short due to a miscommunication regarding net run-rate calculations, as pointed out by their head coach, Jonathan Trott.

Afghanistan’s World Cup journey is set to kick off on October 7 when they face Bangladesh in Dharamsala. Their challenging schedule continues with matches against host nation India on October 11, defending champions England on October 15, and encounters with New Zealand on October 18 and Pakistan on October 23. Subsequent matches will see them taking on Sri Lanka on October 30, followed by clashes with the Netherlands on November 3, Australia on November 7, and South Africa on November 10.

The Afghan team will be eager to make amends for their performance in the 2019 World Cup, where they were unable to secure a single victory in nine matches. Their recent success, a 2-1 series win against Bangladesh in July 2023, has given them a glimmer of hope as they prepare to compete on the world stage once again. Afghanistan’s cricket enthusiasts will be eagerly watching their journey in the upcoming World Cup, hoping for a remarkable turnaround.

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