Interview Shafiqullah Stanikzai: Afghanistan has received very good support and respect from the ICC

Interview Shafiqullah Stanikzai: Afghanistan has received very good support and respect from the ICC

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Shafiq Asmat
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Shafiqullah Stanikzai

Interview Shafiqullah Stanikzai: Afghanistan has received very good support and respect from the ICC: Cricket in Afghanistan is at its all time high, they have a good pool of talented cricketers around, the team is able to get its acts together and more importantly they are winning matches. After beating Zimbabwe 3-2 in the One Day International series they have now won the T20I series 2-0 as well to complete a clean sweep.

There is not just one or a couple of players who are doing well for the skipper Asghar Stanikzai, rather most of his men are delivering when it matters the most. Most Afghan batsmen got half-centuries at important junctures in the ODI and T20I series; while their bowlers deserve most of the praise. Dawlat Zadran proved to be the special talent on this tour to Zimbabwe.

It is not just the players who put in the efforts and should be acknowledged, there are people like the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shafiqullah Stanikzai who work things out off the field, to set everything up for the boys to go out there and perform.

To know what goes behind the scenes to manage an Associate team, CricTracker’s Afghanistan correspondent Nisar Khanzoi caught up with Stanikzai to share his experience, the problems they face, the support they garner and the goals that they have set for themselves.

How amazing is the feeling of being a part of the Afghanistan setup that is taking big steps towards becoming a force in the cricket world?

It’s an honor to be a part of this great structure which is not only contributing in youth development but has developed the sense of peace and national unity in the country. This force which has been taken out from mud is getting broader worldwide and is going to touch the highest success of cricket world in very near future.

Tell us your side of the story, we see, hear and portray what is visible from the outside. How much effort is being put in by the Afghanistan Cricket Board for its cricket?

I have been involved in cricket from its very basic stages in Afghanistan. The start was amazing and full of many challenges, but the sense of going ahead was stronger. It happened through, regular day-night hard work; those faces that took out the cricket from soil and have taken it to the top within a very short time. The ACB officials’ best effort to make this journey possible was unique.

How tough is the job of the CEO of a rising cricketing nation?

It’s not only tough but very challenging to be the CEO of a developing Board. It requires facing and handling various challenges, struggle for making many things possible, we have to survive different negativities, but I believe in thinking positive, it makes sure the biggest challenges and the various tasks we undertake while on our way to success are handled in the right way.

How receptive and supportive is the ICC towards associate nations?

ICC, as a leading organization of cricket worldwide is carrying on its responsibility with full equality. Afghanistan has received very good support and respect from the ICC.

What is the talent scouting process back in Afghanistan?

Kabul and the entire country has been enjoying a cricket revolution. This revolution is getting broader and it reaching the youths in all cities, districts and villages of Afghanistan. We launch HUNTS FOR TALENT Programs each year on regular basis and the youth participation is getting wider and broader each day.

Would you want to promote your players to go out and play different tournaments, leagues, county matches?

Creating various opportunities for our players to develop their game, in and out of the country is amongst over biggest priorities. We are trying to make it possible to arrange different programs for players to learn more and more about the game.

When will we see Afghanistan host international matches?

Cricket support in Afghanistan is not only relating to Government authorities but its wide-ranging effects have also impressed the anti-government sides. The only challenge towards the organization of International events is the security otherwise, our capacity warmly welcomes it.

Is the government supporting the Board and the players?

The Government is very supportive. It is supporting players, the Board and all other cricket activities in the country.

What are the goals you have set for the team, what is the mission for the coming year or so?

The goals that we have set are:

Leadership and good governance, to excel at the elite level, to ensure growth of the game, strengthening our domestic cricket and, the financial growth vision is to maintain Cricket Afghanistan’s number one sports contributing to peace, health, unity and development of the nation.

Shafiqullah Stanikzai signed off saying, “We are very proud and fortunate to be part of this historic and magical cricketing journey. Afghanistan suffered almost 4 decades of war but we consider ourselves the ones who have contributed positively and brought smiles on the faces of our beloved nation.”

You can follow Shafiqullah Stanikza on Facebook.