Mohammad Nabi hails from a well-to-do family that moved to Peshawar in Pakistan, seeking a safe haven from the Soviet War in Afghanistan. An efficient allrounder – a strong middle-order batsman who can bowl flighted offspin – Nabi’s rise, like Afghanistan’s, has been staggering. He has been at the centre of the side since their time in the ICC’s World Cricket League Division Five, from where Afghanistan began their rise to the international stage.
Nabi took up cricket at the age of 10 while living in Peshawar. Honing his skills with endless sessions of tennis-ball cricket, he managed to begin training at Arshad Khan’s academy in Peshawar and made his competitive debut against Rahim Yar Khan Cricket Association in Pakistan’s erstwhile Cornelius Trophy in 2003, making 61 after having just met most of his team-mates. On a tour of India he caught Mike Gatting’s eye with a century against a visiting MCC side. That brought him more valuable experience with MCC, for whom he made his first-class debut, and he went on to play a major role in Afghanistan’s progress to the World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa in 2009. Nabi struck 58 against Scotland on one-day international debut and 102 in his first first-class game for Afghanistan, against a Zimbabwe XI.
Nabi has remained the backbone of the side that qualified for the World Twenty20 in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and, recently, the 2015 World Cup. Nabi has had a couple of stints as Afghanistan’s captain, taking over the role from Nawroz Mangal in March 2013 and leading the side to the 2015 World Cup. He has overseen rapid changes in Afghanistan’s cricket but has remained calmer than most. Nabi has also played club and domestic cricket in England, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where he has enjoyed varying success but has gained in experience.
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