Board chairman says the league will be held in the United Arab Emirates and will be designed along the lines of the IPL.
Afghanistan To Launch Cricket League Within Next Few Months
The chairman of Afghanistan’s Cricket Board, Atif Mashal, said in an interview with TOLOnews that Afghanistan would launch its own cricket league within the next few months.
He said the league will be called the Afghanistan Premier League, and would be designed along the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other high-level cricket leagues in the world.
He said the league matches would be held in the United Arab Emirates with the participation of international players.
Mashal also said that the construction of a professional cricket stadium in Kabul is on the cards and is one of their priorities this year.
“The Afghan Premier League is good news for Afghans. The league will be held in the [United Arab] Emirates at the end of this year or at the beginning of the new year,” Mashal said.
“Afghanistan Cricket Board annually receives more than $8.5 million USD from government, the International Cricket Council and Alokozay Group of Companies and other companies for improvement of the sport in the country.”
“The league is important for Afghans because it will provide financial facilities for team members and basically the national cricket team members will play with the world’s best players,” Mashal stated.
He said he believes that the national team’s recent achievements would increase the chance of Afghanistan getting full membership status in the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“We will have meetings with the ICC officials where they will make a number of decisions which will be important for Afghanistan,” he said.
The cricket chief said their three-year strategy and annual plans have been approved which will help them to take Afghanistan’s cricket forward and help overcome challenges faced by the cricket board.
Asked about alleged corruption involving the cricket board, Mashal said: “We have started a five-year review plan and a company is already working on it but I am not naming it because I don’t want them to be put under pressure by any side. They have already started an audit into Afghanistan Cricket Board’s activities over the past three years.”
“We have found many gaps but it is too early to talk about it. We are waiting for the last report and we cannot rely an uncompleted report. The report will be complete in the next 25 days … We have given them (the investigation team) full access to all documents,” he stated.
“As I am watching raw materials of the inspection, there are [corruption] cases from the former administration [of the cricket board] but it is too early to make any decision in this respect,” he said.
Mashal said they have hired the best coaches for young players and for replacements in the national team.
“We have appointed special coaches for them and our stadium in India is at their service. We will also benefit from Sharjah field ... In the future, we will not wait to select players for world cup tournaments; we will select the team according to the time [which will be given to us] and we will have a strong team,” he said.
“Today our team is ready to face any strong team in the world,” he added.
He mentioned that the national cricket team would play three T20s and ODIs against West Indies in June.
“We signed an agreement with the West Indies a few days ago. We have also requested all our friends and administration to live stream all matches because our people are highly interested to watch the matches. The team will also play against MCC in London,” he said.
Meanwhile, he praised Rashid Khan Arman and Mohammad Nabi’s participation in the IPL, particularly Rashid’s efforts in Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Afghanistan has come a long way since making their World T20 debut in 2010, having qualified for the last 50-over World Cup in Australia and recently beating Ireland across the three formats ODIs, T20 Internationals, and First-Class in a series played at their adopted home ground in Greater Noida in India.
Rashid and Nabi are the first Afghans to play in this year’s IPL. In his debut for SRH last week, Rashid stood out, taking two wickets in his debut match for his IPL team. In his second match Rashid scooped man of the match after he got three wickets against Gujarat Lions.