Maybe you did not even know Afghanistan had a cricket team. Well they certainly do and within their ranks is an impressive batsman named Mohammad Nabi, who turns his arm over occasionally. The Afghans will not be so foolish as to believe they can win the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but they will similarly be proud enough to want to leave the tournament with at least one win under their belt, and any scalps they can claim.
Nabi will be key to this and his story is an extraordinary one. The 20-year old was born in a refugee camp and took up the sport at the age of 10. He trained at the Arshad Khan Academy in Peshawar, Pakistan and caught former England captain Mike Gatting’s eye while scoring a century on a tour of India. Nabi made his first class debut for the MCC and played an integral role in his country’s progress to the World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa in 2009.
Afghanistan may have missed out on the 2011 showpiece but by 2015 they were ready to take their place at the sport’s elite table. Nabi boasts an impressive strike rate of 91 in One Day Internationals and if he can emulate his career economy rate of just over 4 at the World Cup with his off-spinners, he will surely be one to watch Down under.
Nabi’s batting and bowling statistics as at 20 January: