Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib, who was given the leadership duty for one-day international (ODI) cricket in early April succeeding Asghar Afghan, said the latter is still his captain. “Asghar Afghan is still my captain. We played our last few games against Ireland and Scotland, and he helped me a lot. He guided me. He’s not just another player for me, he’s still my captain right now,” ICC quoted Naib as saying. Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) had removed Afghan as the national team’s captain and named three different captains across three formats. Naib was given the charge for ODI while Rahmat Shah and Rashid Khan were given the charge for Test side and T20I, respectively.
However, the move was criticised by many including their spinning duo Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Naib, who led the team in their recent maiden Test victory against Ireland, said that the captain can be anyone but the team have just one goal and that is playing for their country. “I want support from him. Not just him, but [Mohammad] Nabi, Rashid [Khan] and all the guys who have a lot of experience. All of us have one goal: we want to play for Afghanistan and play as a team, whoever the captain is,” he said.
Naib also expressed his excitement over leading the team in the premier tournament saying that it is a ‘big opportunity’ for him. “I am thrilled to lead the team in front of the whole world. I remember our last appearance in the World Cup in 2015. I just played one game, and I was really excited just to be a part of the squad. Now, the ACB have announced me as the captain for this World Cup. It’s a big opportunity for me,’ Naib said. “Compared to the last two-three years, we have a much better side now. We have world-class spinners like Rashid, Nabi and Mujeeb [Ur Rahman], and in the batting department, we have guys like [Mohammad] Shahzad and Rahmat Shah,” he added.
Afghanistan will face Australia in their first World Cup 2019 clash on June 1.