Zazai ruled out of T20 World Cup with abdomen injury, Naib replaces him in Afghanistan squad

Mohammad Nabi's men take on Sri Lanka in a must-win match at the Gabba on Tuesday

Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai has been ruled out of the ongoing T20 World Cup due to an abdominal injury. The left-handed batter has been replaced in their 15-member squad by allrounder Gulbadin Naib, who last played a T20I in November 2021.

Zazai scored 7 in his only innings so far in the tournament, which came in the defeat to England. Afghanistan’s efforts to bounce back from that loss were scuppered by the Melbourne rain. Now, two washouts later, they re-start their campaign against Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Tuesday.

With Zazai out, either Usman Ghani or Ibrahim Zadran may pushed up to open the innings alongside Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Darwish Rasooli is an option as well, though he has only played four T20Is so far. Naib typically bats down the order and offers a few overs of handy medium-pace.

Afghanistan need to win both their remaining games – against Sri Lanka (where rain is forecast again) and Australia – if they are to stand any chance to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. But even then, their hopes of progressing are slim, with New Zealand, England and Australia in better position to make it to the final four.

Afghanistan are currently bottom of Group 1, with two points from the two washouts.

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