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Afghanistan to send over 100 athletes to Asian Games 2023



(Last Updated On: September 19, 2023)

The Asian Games 2023 is finally happening with the opening ceremony scheduled to take place on September 23 in Hangzhou, China.

The games will run through to October 8 and will include a total of 40 sports across 61 disciplines at 56 venues.

The games were originally scheduled to take place last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports of Afghanistan announced on Tuesday that the country’s athletes in athletics, boxing, Kurash, weightlifting and wrestling left Kabul on Tuesday for China.

It is believed other athletes will depart Kabul on Wednesday for the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Host-nation China will start the games as the most successful nation, having won 3,187 medals in the history of the Asian Games, which includes 1,473 gold medals.

Meanwhile, the Asian Games Village for Hangzhou 2023 was officially opened on Saturday as teams started arriving.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that 17 Afghan female athletes, who are living in exile, including a women’s volleyball team, will participate. However, the Islamic Emirate rejected the reports at the time, and said that all athletes from Afghanistan being sent to Hangzhou are male.

The IEA has imposed strict restrictions on women and girls over the past two years, including a ban on females taking part in sport.

In a recent statement issued by Afghanistan’s General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports, 17 sports teams, including wushu, soccer, volleyball and cricket, will participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Afghanistan has been invited to send a total of 17 teams, comprising 103 athletes and 23 coaches, to Hangzhou.

In an exciting turn of events, cricket will return to the upcoming Asian Games, eight years after its last inclusion in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea. The tournament will include 14 men’s teams, including a team from Afghanistan.

Scheduled to be played in the T20 format, the men’s event will be played between September 27 and October 8. Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field is the host stadium for all the matches.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have already reached the quarter-finals based on their ICC T20I Rankings as of June 1, 2023, while Afghanistan, an ICC Full Member, will participate only in the men’s event. A win against Mongolia will seal a top-eight spot for the squad.

After cricket’s inception in the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, China, the sport was played in the 2014 continental event in Incheon, South Korea. The 2018 games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the previous edition of the Asian Games, did not feature cricket.

At Incheon, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh won medals in the men’s event.

The cricket teams participating at the Asian Games 2023 are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Mongolia, Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Maldives, Hong Kong, Thailand, Bahrain.

Sadly, Afghanistan’s football team has withdrawn from the games due to a funding crisis.

According to the latest figures produced by HAGOC, the number of athletes expected is 12,417 – over 1,000 more than the previous record of 11,300 at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018.


Afghanistan-South Africa Cricket World Cup warm-up game washed out



(Last Updated On: September 29, 2023)

Afghanistan’s Cricket World Cup warm-up game against South Africa was washed out Friday because of heavy rain.

Both teams were confined to their hotels before umpires called off the game at 3:45 p.m. because of steady rain and a wet outfield, the Associated Press reported.

South Africa is scheduled to play another warm-up game against New Zealand on Monday while Afghanistan will meet Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The World Cup begins in Ahmedabad on Thursday with the opening game between New Zealand and England.

In Guwahati, Sri Lanka opening batter Pathum Nissanka (68) and Dhananjaya de Silva (55) scored half centuries before the team got bowled out for 263 in 49.1 overs. Offspinners Mahedi Hasan (3-36) and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (1-32) tuned up for the mega event with impressive figures.

In Hyderabad, Mohammad Rizwan scored 103 and captain Babar Azam made 80 off 84 balls as Pakistan racked up 345-5 against New Zealand in another warm-up game that was briefly disrupted by rain.

Rizwan and Babar shared a 114-run stand after openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique couldn’t make their mark and were dismissed early. Left-handed batter Saud Shakeel staked his claim in the middle-order with 75 off 53 balls as Pakistan accelerated well in the end and made 107 runs in the last 10 overs.

New Zealand was led by Tom Latham because regular captain Kane Williamson will miss out on the opening World Cup game against England as he recovers from knee surgery.

Williamson will bat on Friday and is also expected to take the field and bat in the next warm-up game against South Africa.

Williamson injured his knee during the opening game of this year’s Indian Premier League and had surgery. He was with the team in England during the white-ball series while continuing his rehabilitation for the World Cup.

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ODI World Cup 2023: Warm-Up Match 2, Afghanistan vs South Africa



(Last Updated On: September 28, 2023)

Afghanistan and South Africa will lock horns in a warm up match on Friday, September 29, at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram in India, as both teams head into the eagerly anticipated ODI Cricket World Cup.

While Afghanistan recently wrapped up a forgettable Asia Cup campaign, South Africa won their most recent challenge, the five-match home series against Australia, 3-2.

Playing Friday at Greenfield, which generally favors batters, the toss-winning captain will likely choose to bowl first in order to have a clear target in sight.

For Afghanistan, the batter to watch out for will be Heinrich Klaasen. He was crucial for South Africa in the series against Australia, as he finished top scorer with 243 runs from five games. He is expected to carry forward his form in the upcoming match as well.

This will be only the second meeting between the two teams in an official ODI, their first face off coming in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. South Africa rolled Afghanistan for 125 in 24.1 overs.

South Africa will however be without their skipper on Friday as Temba Bavuma has returned home for family reasons and will miss all his team’s World Cup warm-up matches. Aiden Markram will assume the captaincy duties.

Cricket experts have said that while Afghanistan might not be Cricket World Cup contenders, they have the potential to beat many of the top teams because of their skillful spin bowlers.

The Asian heavyweights — host India and regional foe Pakistan — are the top two south Asian contenders for the semifinals, mainly because of experienced batters in their side. But both lack depth in their spin departments and could hardly match the spinners of at least Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Spin wizard Rashid Khan leads Afghanistan’s strong spin trio that also include other impact spinners — Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi — while left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad could also prove to be a surprise package.

Rashid’s experience of playing Indian Premier League should come in handy for Afghanistan and his wizardry on slow surfaces during the World Cup could turn the tables in Afghanistan’s favor.

Mujeeb and Nabi also could lend Rashid ideal support in the middle overs to stem the flow of runs. Afghanistan, which had direct qualification for the World Cup, also recalled fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq to its ODI team after two years.

Despite Afghanistan’s formidable bowling base, it could all come down to the Afghan batters and how well they support their bowlers.

South Africa meanwhile have traveled to India a lot lately, having played 11 white-ball games in India since the start of 2022. Because of this, they understand the conditions at the various grounds.

After Friday, Afghanistan will play Sri Lanka in their second and final warm up at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, in Guwahati on October 3.

Watch all warm up matches live

Ariana Television Network will kick off its live broadcast campaign of the ODI World Cup on Friday, September 29, with the Afghanistan vs South Africa warm up match.

Both Afghanistan’s warm up matches will be broadcast live, on Ariana Television, along with other key matches. However, the balance of matches will be streamed live on our website.

Ariana Television broadcasts of warm up matches will start at 12:30pm on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Live coverage of other matches, on the same days, will be streamed on our websites.

For the full warm up broadcast and streaming schedule CLICK HERE

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Naveen ul Haq set to retire from 50-overs format after Cricket World Cup



(Last Updated On: September 28, 2023)

Naveen ul Haq, who made a surprising return to Afghanistan’s ODI squad for the World Cup, has announced on social media that he would be retiring from the fifty-overs format at the end of the tournament in India.

Naveen had made a return after a two-year absence from the format in Afghanistan’s World Cup squad, and is still only 24 years old.

The pace bowler has played only seven ODIs but has become a pivotal part of the T20I setup since making his international debut in 2016.

“It has been an absolute honour to represent my country and I would like to announce my retirement from the ODI format at end of this World Cup and will continue to wear this blue jersey in T20 cricket for my country,” he said in his statement.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision to make but to prolong my playing career, I had to take this tough decision would like to thank the Afghanistan Cricket Board and all my fans for their support and unwavering love.”

Afghanistan had named a strong squad for the marquee tournament in India with Naveen’s return a major talking point. Aside from Naveen, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman and Omarzai form a strong pace attack for the team as they head to the World Cup.

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