BCCI extends friendship, allots a new stadium to the Afghanistan national cricket team

The Afghans are currently preparing for the all-important ICC World Cup Qualifiers, which will be hosted by Zimbabwe in March

Dawlat Ahmadzai
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Dawlat Ahmadzai of Afghanistan. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

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Associate members Afghanistan has taken great strides ever since their induction into first-class cricket. And now the cricket fanatics of the war-ravaged nation have double reasons for jubilation as the newly built Ekana International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow is set to be the new home ground of Afghanistan cricket team. The administrators of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) will make an official announcement of that in a joint press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Following a continuous good show at the Associate level, Afghanistan along with Ireland acquired Test status from the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year. However, due to security issues in the war-trodden nation, the ACB is unable to host international fixtures on their home turf. In 2016, they approached BCCI for help and the Indian board obliged by providing them the Greater Noida Sports Complex ground on the outskirts of Delhi. Afghanistan has hosted Ireland over there in Inter-Continental (multi-day) as well as limited-overs (ODI and T20Is) matches.

However, there have a been a lot of complaints regarding the facilities as well as the pitches at that venue. Thus, after getting the Test status, ACB did not want to take any chance. They raised this issue to BCCI and is now all set to get the permission to host their ‘home’ games at the brand new stadium Ekana International Cricket Stadium. A flagship project of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA), the stadium has already acquired international status from ICC

Afghanistan cricket on the rise

The Afghans are currently preparing for the all-important ICC World Cup Qualifiers, which will be hosted by Zimbabwe in March. Two top sides of that 10-team event will feature in a slimmed down ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England.

On the other hand, their U19 team, which is the currently playing in the Junior World Cup in New Zealand has shown immense potential. The Afghan colts have displayed some exhilarating performances and now have qualified as table toppers for the quarterfinals of the mega event.

It’s needless to say that cricket in the war-toiled nation is on the rise, and it is only before so long that they evolve into a formidable force to reckon with.