Afghan cricket team visits Pakistan for 4 weeks tour
By Meena Haseeb - Tue Jan 22, 2:40 pm
Afghan team is expected to face the Pakistan A and other sides during their stay to Pakistan and will play at least eight ODIs and four T20 matches.
Pakistan Cricket Board director Intikhab Alam quoted by First Post said, “It is a four-week program for which Afghanistan has come to Pakistan. They will be using our facilities at the National Cricket Academy and also our coaches. Besides playing eight ODI matches and four T20 matches.”
He said the PCB was happy to host the Afghanistan side. “The good news is that we are also in the process of negotiating with two or three countries to come to Pakistan soon,” he said. The former captain said there was also a proposal to allow Afghanistan to take part regularly in Pakistan’s national T20 and ODI competitions so that their players could improve their skills.
In the meantime Afghan coach Kabir Khan said, “Coming to Pakistan means that our players get to play against tough competition and get quality facilities and coaching at the NCA.”
He said the tour was in preparation for the qualifying rounds of the ICC World Cup in March and also a series against Scotland. “But our main emphasis remains on preparing a strong squad for the T20 World Cup which will be held in 2014.”
Afghanistan captain, Nauroze Mangal said Pakistan had always supported Afghanistan cricket but the same sort of support was still required from other Test playing nations.
“Cricket is followed passionately in our country that is why we are focusing and investing a lot in this sport. We have good talent coming up but we have just two grounds and no academy. That is why we have come to Pakistan,” he said.
No test playing nation has toured Pakistan since 2009, when gunmen attacked Sri Lanka’s team bus convoy at Lahore, killing six police officials and a van driver.
Apart from Afghanistan’s three key players — fast bowler Shahpoor Zadran, former captain Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shinwari — Khan said the top 22 Afghan players had all come to Pakistan.
Afghanistan have ODI status till 2015 and have been using Sharjah Cricket Stadium as their home ground since 2010 due to a lack of cricketing infrastructure in the country. They are now looking to shift base to Pakistan.