The 27-year-old may have transformed into the lower-order all-rounder that Afghanistan would have desired, but Naib professionally plays a game which was not his first passion in sport.
An amateur bodybuilder who was inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Naib eventually began his cricket adventure by making rapid strides in age-group cricket as a batting all-rounder before becoming the youngest member of the team that won the Division Five tournament in 2008.
And while most of his teammates faced difficulties in their life coming into the spot, Naib’s had only just begun when he was dropped after the tournament.
Despite making his international bow against Canada in 2011, he was never offered a consistent run in the team to help reinforce his place, and consequently struggled to assert himself with both bat and ball.
Add to that the fact his father was unemployed, his mother had contracted hepatitis and his sister needed help managing her disability, Naib was facing real hardship.
An in-and-out situation occurred again in 2014, when having been recalled for a series against Zimbabwe, Zaib was dropped again ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
Try again he did, but this time with a slight twist.
Redefining himself as a middle-order batsman in 2016, Naib has demonstrated maturity in 50-over cricket since then, not least when he was pushed up the order to help Afghanistan overturn their poor start to the World Cup Qualifiers, with scores of 74* and 45 in crucial clashes with UAE and Ireland going a long way to helping the qualification process.
It seems Naib has added mental power to his physical attributes, and now will be the time to display that on the biggest stage of all.
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