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Pakistan and Afghanistan mend cricketing ties

Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman said that they have agreed to bury the hatchet with Pakistan

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

A couple of months after the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) severed ties with Pakistan, following a bomb attack in Kabul, the things seem to have sorted out. In June, as the Afghanistan capital was rocked by a blast, the country’s intelligence agency had blamed the attack on militants allegedly backed by Pakistan.

Post the blast, the ACB issued a statement that it could not agree to play against a country where terrorists are housed and provided safe havens. However, the PCB was not happy with their move and refuted the allegations and this led to a deadlock between both the boards.

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In the meeting of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in Colombo last week, the future was discussed between the heads of both the boards. ACB chairman Atif Mashal admitted that his recent meeting with the new PCB chief, Najam Sethi, has yielded positive results.

“We talked to Najam Sethi and discussed all the issues during our recent meeting in Sri Lanka. We agreed that it is important to develop good cricketing relations between the two countries,” Mashal said to Sportstar.

ACB head also said that the Pakistan Board has now agreed to allow its players for the league, which begins in Kabul from September 10. He also claimed that the former Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi will be part of the franchise based league.

“The PCB will allow its players for the Afghanistan leagues. Besides friendship and improving relationships, this is also a good way of generating revenue for the players. “Only those Pakistani cricketers who have central contract might not be available, for international commitments. The rest will come. We have also got NOC for the West Indies and Bangladesh players,” Mashal confirmed.

Venue for Afghanistan Tests and ODIs

Afghanistan earned a full-time Test status a couple of months ago and they have received it after an immense improvement in their cricket. The ACB chairman also talked about their first Test match and the venues they are thinking to play.

“We are in contact with a few full-member nations. Hopefully, we will play our first Test match either late this year or early next year. We are closing in on an agreement, but it is not the right time to make a formal announcement,” Mashal said. “We will continue using both Greater Noida and Sharjah as our home grounds. Sharjah will be our venue for Tests, because of its huge crowd support,” he added.

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