Afghanistan on Sunday named their 17-member squad for the 2023 edition of the Asia Cup, which begins from August 30 onwards with the event being played in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The side has made as many as four changes to the squad that featured in the recently-concluded ODI series against Pakistan. And among the notable names missing was Naveen-ul-Haq leaving fans upset as they were hoping for a spicy contest against Virat Kohli for the first time since that infamous IPL 2023 incident. The fast bowler later took to social media to share a cryptic post on his Asia Cup snub.
Fareed Ahmad, Azmatullah Omarzai, Shahidullah Kamal and Wafadar Momand – all who were part of the Pakistan series – have missed out on the ODI selection for the continental event. Meanwhile, the likes of Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf are making comebacks.
Janat will be playing his first ODI match since 2017, but Afghanistan are banking on his T20I experience in Asia Cup. Najbullah, on the other hand, is coming back from an injury that kept him out of the Pakistan series, while Sharafuddin has been picked as an additional all-rounder option in the squad.
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However, Naveen’s absence became the cynosure of the squad announcement on social media with fans expressing their disappointment at missing a long-awaited contest between the Afghan pacer and Kohli. The last time they faced each other was in IPL 2023, which eventually turned into an ugly scene with the former India captain reportedly sledging Naveen while he was batting in the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Lucknow Super Giants at the Ekana Stadium. The two then had a heated exchange of words and after the end of the match, shared an intense handshake which left Glenn Maxwell to jump in and separate the two.
Here is how social media reacted…
India are clubbed with qualifier Nepal and arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2023 Asia Cup while Afghanistan are in a group with defending champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Hence, the only possible clash between India and Afghanistan would have been possible in the Super Four where top two teams of both the groups will qualify for. This means, Afghanistan would need to register at least one win in the group stage to have their chance to facing India in next round of the competition.
Having missed the opportunity of making the Asia Cup team, Naveen let out his frustration through a cryptic post on Instagram which read: “No matter how well your eyes adjust to darkness, you’ll never mistake it for light.”
However, Naveen is mostly likely to have missed dur to injury concerns. Earlier in July, he was replaced by Nijat Masood for the t2o-match T20I series against Bangladesh as Naveen was slated to travel to England for jis knee injury. He was expected to undergo a surgery under the care of an orthopedic specialist with Asadullah Khan, Afghanistan Cricket Boards chief selector, clarifying to Cricbuzz that “He (Naveen) is expected to be out for two months.” However, there have been no update over Naveen’s recovery as of yet. The pacer will now be eyeing for a spot in Afghanistan’s World Cup squad.