Ever since the Taliban took over the reins of Afghanistan, the fate of cricket in the country was put in jeopardy. Considering that the Taliban had banned cricket when it was earlier in power, speculations were rife they would do the same this time around as well.
Afghanistan is still pretty new to international cricket but have shown a remarkable potential of being one of the best teams in the world. They have a packed year ahead with a limited-overs series against Pakistan, followed by the T20 World Cup and an iconic Test against Australia. But, all that was put in a cold bag after the political turnaround in the country.
However, in a positive news for the Afghanistan fans, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) head of media operations Hikmat Hassan said that Taliban won’t be a hindrance for the cricket in country as the organisation have allowed them to continue the operations.
“The Taliban don’t have any issue or problem with cricket, and they have told us that we can continue our work as planned,” said Afghanistan Cricket Board head of media operations Hikmat Hassan.
“We have completed our two training camps in Kabul and, we have sponsors, a production team, and even the kit ready.” Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s own domestic T20 competition Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) have added two more teams, apart from originally having six teams.
“Given the current problems in Afghanistan, it is an opportunity to bring the country together, bring some joy to the people, and put on a remarkable spectacle,” Hassan said.
While Men’s cricket in Afghanistan is likely to go ahead, the fate of women’s cricket is still not clear. Afghanistan women don’t play a lot of cricket but they do have a team and participate in several domestic tournaments. Recently, the ACB awarded national contracts to 25 female players as well.
Speaking to the Sports Desk podcast, Hamid Shinwari, chief executive of the national board, said: “I think it will be stopped – that is my assumption. I really don’t know what the position in the future will be. We have kept the salaries and they are on our payroll. If the government decides that we don’t go with the national women’s team, we will have to stop it.”
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