Afghanistan’s history has always had its ups and downs. The Taliban’s takeover of that country is the most recent in a long line of upheaval. Not only socially, but the Taliban seizure has dealt a major setback to the country’s sporting objectives, and the cricket team faces an uncertain future.
Afghanistan will compete in the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE in October, while some key players such as Rashid Khan are competing in T20 competitions such as the IPL 2021, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL 2021), and the most recent edition of the Big Bash League (BBL). They’ve already lost a three-match one-day series to Australia before of the T20 World Cup, owing to logistical issues due to the tournament’s location in India. “The Afghanistan Cricket Board and Cricket Australia agreed to postpone the tour due to the complications of travel, quarantine periods, and finding a suitable location for the matches given the T20 World Cup’s move to the UAE,” the ACB stated in a joint statement with the CA. “With the (T20) World Cup moving from India to the United Arab Emirates, the ACB will continue to look at the potential of hosting a proposed T20 tri-series between Australia and the West Indies,” the statement added.
However, now that the Taliban have taken control of Kabul, sports may no longer have a role in their plans. “These are tumultuous times, as many people are fleeing Afghanistan. We have no idea what’s in store for us. Even if the Taliban does not oppose sports, we must wait to see how other countries react to the new Afghan government. We’ll have to wait and watch how many countries build bilateral ties with Afghanistan right now. International relations is a subject that is extremely difficult to grasp. Even if sports are not severely restricted, Afghan athletes would have challenging days ahead. For condition of anonymity, an ACB official remarked, “We’ll have to wait on those series against Australia or the mooted tri-series.” During the 2017-18 cricket season, the Afghanistan cricket team relocated to Greater Noida, India. Is it possible that it will happen again? “India and the BCCI made a fantastic gift by providing us with a base in their country. In 2018, we also had the opportunity to experience Test cricket thanks to India. But, as I previously stated, we are unable to comment on future plans at this time. All we can do now is wait for the dust to settle. What will become of the Afghan cricket team? “We will be in touch with the ICC and other cricket boards to find a path forward,” he added. “We need to look at every option to guarantee that Afghanistan cricket does not suffer, especially after making so much development in recent years.” Afghanistan’s coaching staff had recently been restructured. Former Australia pacer Shaun Tait has been hired as their bowling coach, while former Ireland all-rounder John Mooney has been hired as their fielding coach and former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener has been hired as their head coach. Since early this year, India has had a presence on Afghanistan’s coaching staff, with Prasanth Panchada and Saurab Walkar serving as their head physio and computer analyst, respectively. “In Kabul, we had a wonderful time. We met a lot of interesting people and got to experience a different culture. We’ve reached out to ACB officials, and we’re hoping to get a clear picture shortly. Panchada, who was in Afghanistan’s capital in July, said, “Afghan cricket needs all the help it can get right now to keep moving forward.” The ACB had previously announced the 8th season of the Shpageeza Cricket League 2021, which was set to begin in September, but that has now been called into question due to the Taliban’s capture of several cricket stadiums across Afghanistan, as well as the country’s capital cities. “For the 8th season of the Shpageeza League, we had lately advertised for a title sponsor. We had also received a few tenders. Etisalat Afghanistan and the National Radio Television of Afghanistan sponsored the league last year. But now we’ll have to rethink everything,” the official said. Afghanistan cricket has come a long way after some difficult battles, and now it’s time for another!