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Cricket World Cup 2023: Afghanistan

Playing in an ODI World Cup is still relatively new for Afghanistan, who are preparing to feature in the tournament for the only third time when they head to India this October.

Their previous two tournaments in 2015 and 2019 resulted in group-stage exits and Jonathan Trott's side will be hoping for more this year after an underwhelming Asia Cup campaign.

Afghanistan Cricket World Cup squad

Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq.

Afghanistan Cricket World Cup coach

Having had a few stints as a batting coach for England, Jonathan Trott took charge as Afghanistan's head coach last July, having returned from international cricket in 2015.

Trott cultivated a reputation as an elite batsman during his England career, impressing in the Test format with 3835 runs in 52 matches and helping his country to success in the 2010-11 Ashes series.

Trott also enjoyed a decent time of it in ODIs for England, averaging 51 in the format, and was a disciplined and patient batsman. He will be hoping he can translate some of those skills to Afghanistan ahead of what will be only their third ODI World Cup campaign.

Afghanistan Cricket World Cup record

1975Not eligible
1979Not eligible
1983Not eligible
1987Not eligible
1992Not eligible
1996Not eligible
1999Not eligible
2003Not eligible
2007Did not qualify
2011Did not qualify
2015Group stage
2019Group stage

Possible XI

  1. Rahmanullah Gurbaz
  2. Ibrahim Zadran
  3. Rahmat Shah
  4. Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain)
  5. Mohammad Nabi
  6. Najibullah Zadran
  7. Azmatullah Omarzai
  8. Ikram Alikhil
  9. Rashid Khan
  10. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
  11. Fazalhaq Farooqi


Although they will be up against it at this year's ODI World Cup, especially with India and England to come within their first three games, Afghanistan's bowling attack could cause their opponents problems.

Khan remains their not-so-secret weapon, having become one of the sharpest spin bowlers in world cricket with his performances in franchise competitions such as the Indian Premier League.

At the last ODI World Cup, meanwhile, Mohammad Nabi impressed with a haul of ten wickets.

More recently, youngster Fazalhaq Farooqi has stepped up to the plate with the left-arm fast-medium bowler having been named as player of the series in the team's 2-1 triumph over Bangladesh back in July.

That variation to their bowling attack could be key as they look to defy expectations in India.


It is fair to say there are more weaknesses than strengths in this current Afghanistan side.

In their recent Asia Cup campaign, they demonstrated both poor communication and game management skills as they lost by 89 runs against Bangladesh and two runs against Sri Lanka.

The Lankans defeat was particularly frustrating as Afghanistan head coach Trott admitted afterwards that his side were not aware of calculations which meant they could have still qualified for the Asia Cup Super Four despite failing to reach their target of 292 in 37.1 overs.

Failing to acknowledge something so simple in a key tournament is not a good look for Afghanistan, who need to ensure they can get the basics right before the World Cup.

Key Players

Rashid Khan

When discussing key players for Afghanistan, none come any bigger than Rashid Khan, who has evolved into one of the greatest T20 bowlers of all time.

The leg-spinner is a global superstar with a deadly googly in his armoury, while he can also be relied upon with the bat late in innings.

Khan's excellence was obvious from a young age as he made his ODI debut for Afghanistan at just 17 and has since become a sought-after star in both in the Indian Premier League and Big Bash League in Australia.

Indeed, Khan was first pick in the overseas draft for this year's Big Bash and will be hoping to make his mark at this year's ODI World Cup.

He has taken 172 wickets in 94 matches in the ODI format and has a decent average for a lower-order batsman of 19.53.

Ibrahim Zadran

No player has scored more ODI runs for Afghanistan in the last year than opening batsman Ibrahim Zadran, who has racked up 756 runs in 14 innings for his country.

Although he could only rack up a paltry 80 runs in three innings, Zadran was also his side's highest runscorer at the T20 World Cup last year and he will be integral to getting his team off to strong starts.

Zadran typically opens along with wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz and he impressed in defeat to Bangladesh in the recent Asia Cup, scoring 75 off 74 deliveries, including ten fours and one six.

Mohammad Nabi

Having turned 38 at the start of the year, it is fair to say Mohammad Nabi is past his best but the all-rounder still brings plenty of experience to this Afghanistan team and that could be crucial to their cause.

Nabi retired from the Test format back in September 2019 to focus on limited-overs cricket and in ODIs he averages 27.18 with the bat and has taken 154 wickets in 147 matches for his country.


To Win Outright:  33/1

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