Mohammad Nabi leads ILT20's 'local' Afghan contingent at Sharjah Warriors

All-rounder assured new league will set high standards in world franchise cricket

By Team KT

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Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi will play for the Sharjah Warriors. — AFP
Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi will play for the Sharjah Warriors. — AFP

Published: Wed 28 Dec 2022, 9:27 PM

If ever there was a torch-bearer of the indomitable Afghan spirit on the cricket field then Mohammad Nabi would be a perfect choice.

And the talented all-rounder is invoking Afghanistan’s strong community presence in the UAE to come out in full support of Sharjah Warriors when the International League T20 tournament marks its debut next year on January 13.

The elder statesman has been given the nickname “Mr. President” thanks to his stature as a leader of a team that has made giant strides in the past decade with the help of its aggressive brand of cricket.

It has taken only four years for Afghanistan to elevate itself from Associate nation status to a Full member of the International Cricket Council, a period when Nabi was captain of the team.

Now 37, Nabi still wears his passion on his sleeve and conceded the captaincy after the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in November.

Sharjah Warriors captain Moeen Ali can count on his expertise when the team take the field, especially at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium where the Afghan contingent of Nabi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Noor Ahmad are guaranteed passionate support.

Sharjah, where he trains, is also a second home for Nabi who lives in the neighbouring emirate of Ajman.

Asked to comment on the ILT20 league starting in January and playing under the captaincy of Moeen Ali Nabi said: “The League is happening for the first time and we are all hoping it reaches great heights. The team at Sharjah Warriors has also shaped well and seems a great combination, which is a perfect fit for the conditions here in the UAE.

“We have good batsmen. In the bowling department also, there is a lot of talent and even variety. I think we are a solid, all-round side and we can do well in the conditions which are more local to us compared to the competition,” added Nabi.

When reminded that Afghanistan players were in demand and considered hot property for the ILT20 because of their experience of playing in UAE's conditions, Nabi remarked: “The conditions suit us well here, but Afghan players are playing everywhere in the world. We have few playing in the Big Bash of Australia currently while some of us are just back from the Lanka Premier League.

“We have played in the Pakistan Super League. And now here in the ILT20, the trend should continue. As we are also used to playing here in the UAE, we Afghans should do well at the top level.”

From a captain’s perspective, what roles could he visualize for players like Naveen-ul-Haq, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Noor Ahmad?

“Everyone is a good pick if I was the selector,” he remarked. “Gurbaz is a power hitter who likes to go over the top. He can give the team a good start and put us in good positions.

“Among the bowlers, Naveen-ul-Haq has good variations as he has shown good pace while bowling for Afghanistan.

"The chinaman deliveries of Noor can also be difficult to tackle in these conditions. If he gets going, he can single-handedly run through the opposition.”

Nabi also was happy to be referred to as a ‘local’ player given the fact that he has always been playing here if not training in India.

“We all have been using the UAE as our home base for many years now and I have been living here (in Ajman) for two years now,” he said. “So yes, we can be counted as a local only in a manner of speaking."

The inaugural DP World International League T20 includes the teams Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, Desert Vipers, Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants, MI Emirates, and Sharjah Warriors.


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