Afghanistan want to host Pakistan for ODI series...

Dhaka, Thursday   21 October 2021

Afghanistan want to host Pakistan for ODI series

 Sports Desk

 Published: 08:26 PM, 23 September 2021  

Afghanistan want to host Pakistan for ODI series

Afghanistan want to host Pakistan for ODI series

Newly-appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Azizullah Fazli said on Wednesday he would visit neighbouring Pakistan later this week to invite the side for a ODI series.

The war-torn nation has steadily risen in international cricket over the past few years, with stars such as the world’s top spinner Rashid Khan, but there have been calls for a boycott of the men’s team after the Taliban’s takeover last month.

The change of government has called into question the future of Afghanistan’s participation in Test matches, as under International Cricket Council regulations, nations must also have an active women’s team.

The Taliban are yet to announce a policy on women playing sport, but a senior official has said it would be ‘not necessary’.

Avoiding commenting on the latest developments, Fazli said he planned to visit other regional cricketing powers.

“I am taking a tour of Pakistan from September 25 and then will go to India, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates to meet officials of cricket boards,” he said from Kabul.

Fazli said he would meet new Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja, “and offer to host Pakistan for the series which we were due to play in Sri Lanka in September”.

The three-match one-day series between Pakistan and Afghanistan was cancelled over logistical problems and a Covid-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka. It was part of a one-day league which is a qualification process for the 2023 World Cup.

“We are seeking to improve Afghanistan cricket so that will come with cooperation from other countries,” Fazli added.

Ramiz confirmed Fazli would visit Pakistan.

Fazli, in his second term as chairman after serving the board from September 2018 to July 2019, said he was committed to improving facilities in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the new rulers on Tuesday sacked Hamid Shinwari as ACB chief executive, replacing him with Naseeb Zadran Khan, linked to the Haqqani network, which is responsible for some of the worst attacks in the country’s history.

Shinwari confirmed that he had been fired from his post.

“Without any reason the dismissal took place. At this time I can’t add more,” Shinwari said in a text message.

Fazli denied media reports that Naseeb had any link to the militant Haqqani network, some of whose leaders now hold top posts in the Taliban government, and said the board had decided to replace Shinwari for cricketing reasons.

“Naseeb Khan is the new acting CEO. He has good knowledge of cricket,” Fazli said. “He holds a master’s degree and is the acting CEO until we complete the recruitment process of board members. Then we will announce a [full-time] CEO.”

Earlier this month, Shinwari urged other national teams not to shun the country over its new rulers’ suggestion that they might ban women from the sport.

This came after Cricket Australia said it would scrap a planned Test match against the Afghanistan men’s team if the Taliban did not allow women to play the sport.

Cricket Australia did not comment on the latest development while the world governing body, the International Cricket Council, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ICC, which in the past has penalised members for government interference in cricket administration, recently said it would discuss the Afghan issue at its next board meeting in November.

The Afghan women’s squad was disbanded amid safety concerns a few years after it was formed in 2010 but the ACB revived the team last year and gave contracts to 25 players.

The Taliban say they have changed since their 1996-2001 rule, when they barred women from leaving home without a male relative and shut schools for girls, but they stirred scepticism when they said last week that they would open schools for high school-aged boys but not girls.