In a very short span of time Afghanistan cricket has gifted many talented bowlers to the cricketing world. Starting from the magician Rashid Khan to young Zahir Khan, the quality of spin bowling that Afghanistan possesses is on par with the top Test-playing cricket nations. But the one area that has always been a concern for them was the fast bowling department. The phenomenal rise of young pacer Naveen Ul Haq from Kabul is giving much-needed confidence to Afghan cricket with respect to the future of their pace attack.
Inspired by the national team’s performance in the 2012 T20 World Cup, Naveen decided to take up cricket seriously at a very young age. Known for his unique and unorthodox bowling action, he made his debut for the national side at a very young age of 17 in 2016. He rose to fame during the subsequent U-19 World Cup held in New Zealand in 2018, where Afghan boys put up a noteworthy performance during the entire course of the tournament. He was also the captain of that side.
Nick Name: NA
Naveen Ul Haq Age: 20
Date of Birth: Sep 23, 1999
Birth Place: Kabul
Role: Bowler, Right Arm Fast
Naveen Ul Haq Height: 6'1″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Facebook: Naveen Ul Haq
Role model: MS Dhoni, Hamid Hassan
Favourite IPL team: Chennai Super Kings
Teams Played for: Afghanistan Under-19, Afghanistan, Sylhet Thunder, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Afghanistan A, Afghanistan Emerging, Mis Ainak Knights, Kabul Region, Nangarhar Leopards.
Naveen Ul Haq CPL Team: Guyana Amazon Warriors
He is a huge admirer of former Indian captain MS Dhoni and has on various occasions expressed his wish to played under Dhoni for at least once. He role models Dhoni in his captaincy style and follows veteran Afghanistan fast bowler Hamid Hassan as his bowling idol.
Naveen Ul Haq started making waves in the international circuit when he was first included in Afghanistan's squad for the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Later that year he made his One Day International (ODI) debut for Afghanistan on 25 September 2016 against Bangladesh. In December that year, he was named the captain for Afghanistan in the 2016 Under-19 Asia Cup.
Consistent performances in the domesticT20 tournaments paved way for his selection in the national T20 side. Hence he made his Twenty20 (T20) debut for Afghanistan against Namibia on 19 January 2017 in the 2017 Desert T20 Challenge.
In December 2017, he was named as the captain of Afghanistan's squad for the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He got popular attention during that tournament in New Zealand where he led his side brilliantly as Afghanistan played consistently well above the popular expectations.
In August 2019, he was named in Afghanistan's Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for the 2019–20 Bangladesh Tri-Nation Series. He made his T20I debut for Afghanistan, against Bangladesh, on 21 September 2019. So far he has played 4 ODI’s and 5 T20I’s for Afghanistan but hasn’t been able to cement his place in the permanent eleven.
He made his first-class debut in 2018 for Kabul Region in the Ahmad Shah Abdali 4-day Tournament. The same year saw him representing Nangarhar in the first edition of the Afghanistan Premier League tournament.
In November 2019, he was drafted into the Sylhet Thunder squad for the 2019–20 Bangladesh Premier League. He played few matches for them in the tournament and tricked many batsmen including some of the overseas players with his express pace and variations.
His impressive performance in the BPL caught the attention of certain franchise teams across the globe and in July 2020, he was drafted into the Guyana Amazon Warriors squad for the 2020 Caribbean Premier League.
He was called up for trials by the IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2020, and they have expressed their interest in investing in him for the future if he can continue his good form for the coming years as well. It will be just a matter of a couple of years until we could see Naveen Ul Haq in the IPL.