Afghanistan Cricket Board Chairman Farhan Yusefzai said Wednesday that the board has notched up a number of successes despite the immense challenges it has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing journalists in Kabul, Yusefzai gave an overall update on the ACB’s achievements during his two-year tenure.
He said the domestic cricket structure has been strengthened, that Afghan players have recorded notable performances around the world, that land has been earmarked for a state of the art stadium in Kabul and that bilateral exchanges between the UAE’s Sharjah Cricket Council have been successful – in paving the way for Afghanistan’s future fixtures.
Yusefzai also said the International Cricket Council (ICC) will increase its grants by as much as 60% for ACB which will further strengthen the organization’s financial independence.
He also said that the second edition of Afghanistan Premier League T20, will be held in February 2022 provided there are no COVID-19 restrictions in place.
On the local league he said: “We had planned to organize the eighth edition of Shpageeza Cricket League this July. However, due to the third wave of COVID-19 in the country, the event will be held later in the year.”
Yusefzai also stated that currently, their focus was on preparing the national team for the ICC ODI Super League matches against Pakistan as well as the T20 World Cup later in the year.
He also added that, courtesy of efforts of the Afghan ambassador to Colombo, negotiations are underway to organize a series against Sri Lanka in near future.
In conclusion he said ACB is headed in the right direction and expressed confidence that the national team will achieve more successes on international stage.
Afghanistan-Pakistan ODI series ‘not possible this year’
Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan has been postponed again until next year, a Pakistani media outlet reported on Sunday.
The two countries were originally due to play three ODI matches in early September in 2021 in Sri Lanka, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that the Afghanistan Cricket Board had requested the series be postponed.
Pakistan Cricket Board had said both boards would try to reschedule the series in 2022.
This time it has been postponed due to the busy schedule of the Pakistan team, Geo News reported citing unidentified sources.
According to reports, the series will now not be possible until April next year.
ACB announces Shpageeza Cricket League 2022 schedule
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced Monday fixtures for the eighth edition of the Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) 2022, which is scheduled to be held from July 18 to August 5 in Kabul.
Eight star national players will be retained by their SCL teams, including Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran.
In the players’ draft for the tournament, conducted on June 10, a total of 142 players, national and uncapped, were drafted in five categories by the franchises, now numbering eight after the addition of two new franchises.
The players retained ahead of the draft were Rashid for Band-e-Amir Dragons; Gurbaz for Kabul Eagles, the defending champions; Najibullah Zadran for Speenghar Tigers; Mohammad Shahzad for Mis Ainak Knights; Darwish Rasooli for Amo Sharks and Samiullah Shinwari for Bost Defenders.
Two new teams, Pamir Zalmi and Hindukush Stars, picked Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan as their retained players respectively.
Of these players, Shahzad was retained in the highest category, Icon, as were ten others: Mohammad Nabi (Kabul Eagles), Fazalhaq Farooqi (Bost Defenders), Hashmatullah Shahidi (Pamir Zalmi), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Hindukush Stars), Usman Ghani (Speenghar Tigers), Hazratullah Zazai (Hindukush Stars), Asghar Afghan (Mis Ainak Knights), Karim Janat (Band-e-Amir Dragons), Ihsanullah Janat (Amo Sharks) and Noor Ali Zadran (Pamir Zalmi).
In addition, two players have been drafted in the Diamond category by each franchise, three in Platinum, four in Golden, and six in the Silver category.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board said in a statement that “it’s fine to note that the SCL2022 is expected to be conducted from July 15 to August 2 in Kabul”.
Kabul Eagles beat Mis Ainak Knights in the final the last time the tournament was played, in 2020, making it their second title, after 2016. Mis Ainak Knights and Speenghar Tigers have also each won the tournament twice, while Band-e-Amir Dragons have won it once.
Pakistan take top two spots on latest ICC ODI rankings
Pakistan now boast the two highest-rated ODI batters in the world for the first time after in-form opener Imam-ul-Haq went past India veteran Virat Kohli, to join team-mate Babar Azam at the top of the ICC MRF Tyres Men’s One Day Batter rankings.
Imam scored three half-centuries during Pakistan’s recent ODI series at home against West Indies. His form was duly rewarded as he won the Player of the Series award and made a move on the latest rankings that were released on Wednesday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) reported.
The 26-year-old jumped a massive 20 rating points to move in front of Kohli and now has a career best mark of 815 rating points.
This is still well behind Babar’s mark of 892, with the Pakistan captain maintaining his enormous lead at the head of the ODI batter rankings following his 17th ODI century in the opening match against West Indies.
There was some other minor moves inside the top 10, with Aaron Finch rising a spot to ninth as Australia team-mate David Warner fell to 10th – while England’s Jonny Bairstow dropped two places to eighth and South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen jumped a spot to seventh.
There was more good news for Pakistan on the latest bowler rankings, as tall pacer Shaheen Afridi jumped two places to fourth following his good series with the ball against West Indies.
New Zealand’s Trent Boult remains on top of the bowler rankings, but Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood and Kiwi team-mate Matt Henry are closing in after they jumped one spot to second and third respectively.
England’s Chris Woakes was the man to make way out of the top five as he fell four spots to equal sixth, tied with Mujeeb Ur Rahman after the Afghan spinner rose two places.
The biggest mover on the all-rounder rankings is Oman’s Zeeshan Maqsood, with the leftie jumping 13 places to 10th following a string of impressive performances in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 action.
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