What’s the story?
A few international cricketers will be visiting Afghanistan to participate in a new franchise-based cricket league, along with some of the big names from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is all geared up to host their IPL-style league called Shpageeza Cricket League.
“We have already received great response from the cricketers. This is the first time that so many international cricketers will be playing in this franchise-based league,” ACB CEO Shafiq Stanikzai said from Kabul.
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The Shpageeza league was earlier held on a smaller scale. Last year too, some of the players from Pakistan and Zimbabwe had travelled to Afghanistan for the league, but it was a low-key affair. But it now has grown and will have a considerable number of players from the international circuit.
The heart of the matter
The tournament will witness the participation of six franchises which are all owned by prominent industrial tycoons of Afghanistan. The ACB has already obtained the fundamental consent from the Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, UAE and Canada for the league. Nine players from Bangladesh, including Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Sabbir Rahman have given their approval for the player auctions. The catalogue also included names of Pakistan biggies – Saeed Ajmal, Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir. The final lists of players to be auctioned were sent by the respective Boards to the ACB on May 15.
Although the home ground of Afghanistan’s national team is in Greater Noida, the league is being held in Afghanistan with the aim to popularise the game in the country and also to make people realise that it is completely safe for the International teams to play in the country.
After rounds of scrutiny, the auctions will be held on the 25th of May and the league will take-off in Kabul from July 18- July 28 later this year.
The preparations are in full swing and nice to see the initiative taken by the ACB to promote the game. Often we have witnessed leagues such as these providing new talents to the game and so will this. Afganistan cricket will benefit as some of their youngsters will come to the fore and rub shoulders with the international players.
However, the safety of the players in the war-ravaged country is a matter of concern and should be well catered to.Published 18 May 2017, 16:35 IST