Mohammad Nabi blames Afghanistan Cricket Board’s captaincy swap for poor World Cup
Mohammad Nabi was one of the rare positives for Afghanistan at the World Cup. © AFP

Veteran Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi has attributed the team’s winless run at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup to poor judgement by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in dropping Asghar Afghan as captain across formats and naming Gulbadin Naib in charge of the ODI team.

Coming off the best year in Afghanistan cricket history – during which Afghanistan made their long-cherished Test debut and at the Asia Cup beat Sri Lanka by 91 runs and Bangladesh by 138 runs and then tied an ODI with India – the ACB removed veteran Afghan as skipper and named the untested allrounder Naib as captain for the World Cup, as well as Rahmat Shah for Tests and Rashid Khan for T20Is.

(READ: Rashid Khan leads Afghanistan to historic Test triumph over Bangladesh)

Under Naib, Afghanistan lost all nine of their World Cup matches in England this summer. He averaged 21.55 with the bat and 46.66 with teh ball, His captaincy was questionable, particularly during Afghanistan’s last match when they had a good chance to win, but Naib bowled himself for the 48th over that turned the match in Pakistan’s favour.

Gulbadin Naib captain
Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib during the World Cup: “It’s not our level of cricket.” AFP

After the tournament the outgoing head coach Phil Simmons said he would expose the truth about why Afghanistan underperformed at the World Cup.

Before the start of the ongoing tour of Bangladesh, Rashid was named captain of Afghanistan across formats and on Monday led the team to victory in the one-off Test at Chattogram, which gave the team their second Test victory in three matches.

(READ: Rashid delighted with Afghanistan’s team-effort, hails “legend” Nabi)

Nabi, who retired from Tests with this famous win over Bangladesh, backed Rashid’s appointment as captain and laid blame for the poor World Cup performance at the ACB’s last-minute captaincy changes.

“It is all about team combination. In the World Cup, the board members changed the old captain and that’s why the combination wasn’t that good. With Rashid as captain, Asghar and I support him a lot. He prepared for the role too,” said Nabi, who had openly criticised Naib’s appointment as ODI captain in April.

“If you change the captain before the World Cup, how can you prepare the team? He (Naib) never captained in his life, how can he lead a team in the World Cup? That’s why it was tough, and the boys didn’t perform in the World Cup. We got close against India, Pakistan and West Indies but now it has totally changed. We are giving chances to the youngsters; three debuted in the Test and there will be many debuts in the T20s too.”