Former Sri Lanka opener Avishka Gunawardene has been appointed as Afghanistan’s batting coach for the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka. The development comes amidst chaos in Afghanistan where the Taliban has taken over the reigns of the country. As per a report in ESPNCricinfo, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) wanted Gunawardene to commit for a longer stint but Gunawardene has only agreed to don the coach’s hat for the ODI series.
Gunawardene was charged for breaching the Emirates Cricket Board’s anti-corruption code during the T10 tournament in the UAE in 2017. However, the former Sri Lanka batting coach was cleared of the allegations after an investigation which allowed Gunawardene to resume his coaching career. Gunawardene has previously served as Sri Lanka’s batting coach.
The current situation in Afghanistan has put the fate of Afghanistan cricket in jeopardy considering the Taliban had banned cricket when it was earlier in power. However, ACB CEO Hamid Shinwar has confirmed that sports will carry on as before.
"We will resume our office from tomorrow and the national camp which was underway ahead of the Pakistan series in Sri Lanka will also resume after a two-day break with the change in regime," Shinwari told PTI on Monday.
Afghanistan and Pakistan were set to clash in UAE but the series was moved to Sri Lanka due to the IPL and T20 World Cup. It is still not clear when Afghanistan will depart for Sri Lanka given that the Kabul airport is closed following the Taliban’s takeover.