Amidst the uncertainty that looms over Afghanistan cricket post Taliban’s takeover, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has confirmed that cricket in the country will continue as normal. Taliban had earlier banned cricket when it was in power about 20 years ago thus many feared about the fate of cricket in the country.
However, ACB head of media operations Hikmat Hassan has revealed that Taliban don’t have a problem with cricket and have asked the board to continue their operations.
“The Taliban don’t have any issue or problem with cricket, and they have told us that we can continue our work as planned,” said Afghanistan Cricket Board head of media operations Hikmat Hassan.
Afghanistan has a busy calendar ahead with limited-overs series against Pakistan and a historic Day-Night Test against Australia, with the T20 World Cup sandwiched in between. Hassan said that preparations for the upcoming events are in full swing. He also revealed that continuous efforts are being made to improve the cricket infrastructure in the country.
“We have completed our two training camps in Kabul and, we have sponsors, a production team, and even the kit ready.” Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s own domestic T20 competition Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) have added two more teams, apart from originally having six teams.
“Given the current problems in Afghanistan, it is an opportunity to bring the country together, bring some joy to the people, and put on a remarkable spectacle,” Hassan said.
The Taliban has no problems with Men’s cricket but would they allow women’s cricket to bloom? Probably not, believes Hamid Shinwari, chief executive of the national board. The ACB recently awarded national contracts to 25 female players.
“I think it will be stopped – that is my assumption. I really don’t know what the position in the future will be. We have kept the salaries and they are on our payroll. If the government decides that we don’t go with the national women’s team, we will have to stop it,” said Shinwari.