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News

Gulbadin Naib's apparent cramp comes under scrutiny

The Afghanistan allrounder had apparent cramp just when Bangladesh had fallen behind the DLS par score and there was rain in the air

Gulbadin Naib's apparent bout of cramp during Afghanistan's Super Eight game against Bangladesh in St Vincent came under scrutiny from television commentators because it happened at a crucial stage of game.
Needing a win to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2024 at Australia's expense, Afghanistan had just taken Bangladesh's sixth and seventh wicket in the 11th over with the score on 80. In the next over, after Bangladesh had fallen just behind the DLS par score, it appeared that Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott was signalling to his players to try and slow the game down with rain in the air.
Between the third and fourth deliveries of the 12th over from Noor Ahmad, Naib went down clutching the back of his leg while fielding at first slip. He was not moving in the field at the time he went down. Naib appeared to need treatment and as he was helped off the field by his team-mate Naveen-ul-Haq and a member of the support staff, it began to drizzle and the pitch was covered. Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan did not look pleased during the incident.
The injury and rain interruption did not last long, though, and when play resumed minutes later, one over had been reduced from Bangladesh's chase and the DLS target revised to 114. At that point, Najibullah Zadran was on the field as a substitute for Naib, who eventually came back on the field in the 13th over. Naib then bowled the 15th over in Bangladesh's chase and took the wicket of Tanzim Hasan.
When asked about the incident by Simon Doull after the game, Rashid played it down. "Rain is something that's not in your hand. It was on and off. Mentally we were always there that we had to play 20 overs and take ten wickets. That was the only way we could get to the semi-final. There was no other way," he said. "Gulbadin had some cramp, I think. Hopefully, he will be alright. But that wicket that he gave us was a massive one at that stage."
Rashid said the interruption did not impact the game much. "Well, he [Naib] had some cramp, I don't know what happened to him and I don't know what's going on in social media but that doesn't matter - it's just the on-field injury which comes and then we haven't lost any overs, the rain came and we just went off, it's not something like brought a massive difference in the game. We came back on field after five minutes and there was no massive difference. For me, it's just like a small injury comes in, then you have to take some time."
Time-wasting by either the batting or bowling side is a punishable offence. It did not have an impact on the result in the end, as Afghanistan went on to beat Bangladesh by eight runs to qualify for the T20 World Cup semi-finals.