Veteran batter Gulbadin Naib has replaced injured opener Hazratullah Zazai in the Afghanistan squad at the Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Monday.
Hard-hitting opener Zazai, who holds the record for the second-highest score in the history of men’s T20I cricket for his brilliant 162 not out against Ireland in Dehradun in 2019, has been battling an abdominal and kidney concern and has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament.
Naib, who is a travelling reserve in Australia and was named as Zazai’s replacement, will get a chance to play his first T20I in almost a year, later this tournament.
“The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 has approved Gulbadin Naib as a replacement for Hazratullah Zazai in the Afghanistan squad,” the ICC said in a statement.
The 24-year-old Zazai managed just seven runs against England during the only match Afghanistan have been able to complete at the T20 World Cup, with the left-hander dismissed courtesy of a brilliant catch from Liam Livingstone.
Afghanistan take on Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Tuesday and need a win there and from their final game of the tournament against Australia in Adelaide on Friday to have any chance of qualifying for the semifinals.
Mohammad Nabi’s side are the only team yet to register a victory in Australia, but have been a shade unlucky given they have featured in two matches that have been abandoned without a ball being bowled because of rain.
Afghanistan squad: Mohammad Nabi (c), Najibullah Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Azmatullah Omarzai, Darwish Rasooli, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen ul Haq, Qais Ahmad, Rashid Khan, Salim Safi, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani. Standby Players: Afsar Zazai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rahmat Shah.