Doubts over Afghan-Pakistan cricket series after Taliban takeover

    Afghan player celebrates a wicket during an undated match. Photo by ICC


    Afghan player celebrate a wicket

    Afghan player celebrating a wicket

    Afghan player celebrates a wicket during an undated match. Photo by ICC

    As officials try to find out if cricket players in Afghanistan are safe, the Sri Lankan National Council said Monday that it is making arrangements to host a T20 series between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    No official has been able to guarantee, however, that the Twenty20’s three games will begin on September 1 after the Taliban take power.

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    The team is also scheduled to play in the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in October, which could also now be in question.

    The Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 did not see organized sport.

    Spin Bowl star and T20 captain Rashid Khan and the rounder Mohammad Nabi are currently playing The Hundred Tournament in England. Both sought peace in their country before the Taliban took over.

    But most of the other national players are in Afghanistan.

    “Efforts are being made to verify their location,” said an international cricket official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The Sri Lankan cricket team said it still hopes to host Afghanistan and Pakistan for the three matches in an empty stadium in Hambantota.

    The series was originally scheduled to take place in Dubai but moved to Sri Lanka because it clashed with the Indian Premier League, which also starts in September in the UAE.

    “We told them we were ready to host the tournament,” Sri Lankan cricket secretary Mohan de Silva told AFP. “All preparations are underway.”

    “But given the current situation in Kabul, we do not know if they will be able to move forward. We are waiting for a response from them.”

    De Silva said that due to coronavirus precautions, the two teams will have to be in Sri Lanka next week to start the games in September.

    Afghanistan’s Cricket Board website reported that his national team met with top officials on August 7 and were told they would be “highly rewarded” for a good performance against Pakistan.

    In his last post on August 9, the board said it had appointed former Australian fast bowler Sean Tight as the national team bowling coach.

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