Afghanistan’s upcoming three-match ODI series against Pakistan, which was set to begin on September 3, has been postponed indefinitely due to logistical challenges. Ever since the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, there were speculations that the series will not go ahead.
Also, all flights from Kabul international airport has been stopped, which made it difficult for the players to travel to Sri Lanka, where the series was originally planned to be held.
Further, the Lankan government had announced a 10-day nationwide lockdown, owing to a surge in COVID-19 cases. All these factors made both boards to mutually postpone the series for time being.
“Due to the overall conditions including the mental health of the players, we had to postpone the series,” ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari told ESPN Cricinfo.
Earlier it was also reported that the Afghanistan players would travel to Pakistan via road before boarding the flight to Sri Lanka. Reports also surfaced that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) requested Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) to play the series in Pakistan but the latter denied. The series will now be played next year.
“We have worked very closely with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) to make this series happen and were keen to play them in the inaugural bilateral series, but we understand their challenges and have, therefore, agreed to reschedule the series for 2022.”
Zakir Khan the PCB director is optimistic about the three-match ODI series between Afghanistan and Pakistan taking place in 2022 and feels the matches are important for teams for direct qualification for ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
“The PCB historically enjoys an excellent relationship with the ACB and will do everything to ensure the series is played in 2022 as it is critical for both sides in terms of direct qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023,” said Zakir Khan in a statement.