3 players LSG can sign if Naveen-ul-Haq is withdrawn from IPL 2024 ft. Dwaine Pretorius

Naveen-ul-Haq's participation in IPL 2024 is under a cloud (Picture Credits: BCCI).

Naveen-ul-Haq is one among three Afghanistan players to have made headlines after their NOCs were revoked by their country's cricket board, barring them from partaking in franchise tournaments for the next two years.

This came as a result of Naveen, alongside Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Fazalhaq Farooqi, turning down central contracts offered by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). While the decision is pending an investigation, the trio won't be able to feature in IPL 2024 if they aren't handed NOCs for the same.

Naveen is contracted with Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), for whom he impressed with 11 wickets from eight matches in IPL 2023 as his team made it to the playoffs.

He was retained ahead of the IPL 2024 auction at ₹50 lakh and on the slow pitches of the Ekana Cricket Stadium, was expected to play a big role in the new season.

Naveen-ul-Haq remains a pivotal cog in the LSG setup (Picture Credits: Getty).
Naveen-ul-Haq remains a pivotal cog in the LSG setup (Picture Credits: Getty).

While there's good time left before IPL 2024 commences, LSG will certainly need to have a contingency plan handy should Naveen be barred from turning up.

They will have to ponder some replacement options and we take a look at three such names they can consider:

#1 Lance Morris (Australia)

Nicknamed the 'Wild Thing' for his ability to clock ferocious speeds upwards of 150 kph, Lance Morris has come ever so close to wearing a baggy green, although he has had to bide his time.

The Western Australia and Perth Scorchers quick bowls rapidly and gets the ball to fly off those hard lengths, ruffling batters with sheer velocity. The 25-year-old has played just 20 T20 matches so far, managing 15 wickets at an economy rate of 8.49. But his extra pace and factor of the unknown bring a point of difference.

This is something that LSG can look to tap into should Naveen not be available for IPL 2024. While Morris is a complete contrast to Naveen's plethora of cutters and variations, he can serve as the ideal like-for-like backup for Mark Wood, who is expected to start in the first XI in any case.

#2 Dwaine Pretorius (South Africa)

If LSG are keen on replicating Naveen's variations with another bowler who bowls a lot of cutters, Dwaine Pretorius presents them with an enterprising option. The South African all-rounder has retired from international cricket but continues to be a T20 and T10 freelancer. However, he failed to fetch a bid at the IPL 2024 auction.

Pretorius also has experience of having played the IPL and was a member of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2022 and 2023, often making valuable contributions with both the bat and ball. He can also bowl at the death and his slower deliveries could prove to be a handful at the usually slow-paced Ekana Cricket Stadium.

An additional factor is Pretorius' connection with the Super Giants family, given that he represents their sister franchise based out of Durban in the SA20. That factor of continuity and familiarity with the franchise will only ease his integration into the side and he could prove to be a smart pick for the team ahead of IPL 2024.

#3 Matt Henry (New Zealand)

Matt Henry is a top-class ODI bowler and has also made his presence felt in Tests. Yet, one doesn't associate the tag of a T20 specialist with him and that could raise a few eyebrows here.

But the way Henry has performed in T20s in recent times warrants his name to be considered for an opportunity in IPL 2024 if you're an LSG fan. He snared 42 wickets in 23 T20 outings in 2023 at an average of 14.54 and an economy rate of 7.43. He was in red-hot form for Somerset in the T20 Blast, where he topped the charts with 31 wickets at an average of 13.25 to lead their title charge.

His efforts have been duly recognized by New Zealand's selectors, who have named him in a full-strength squad to face Pakistan in a five-match T20I rubber this month. It's a clear sign that they have him in their plans for the T20 World Cup and with a lot more experience in the format, Henry seems more ready than ever for the IPL.

LSG might just pull off a shrewd move should they turn towards him as Naveen's replacement. While death bowling isn't necessarily his strongest suit, Henry's ability to keep it simple and swing the new ball makes him a potent match-winning threat, especially in conditions such as the ones Kolkata or Mumbai are expected to throw out.

Who among these players do you think should LSG replace Naveen-ul-Haq with should he not make it to IPL 2024? Have your say in the comments section below!

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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