Newly Appointed Afghanistan Cricket Chief Wants to Host Pakistan for ODI Series

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Newly appointed Afghanistan cricket chairman Azizullah Fazli said Wednesday he would visit neighbouring Pakistan later this week to invite the side for a one-day series.

The war-torn nation has steadily risen in international cricket over the past few years, with stars such as the world’s top spinner Rashid Khan, but there have been calls for a boycott of the men’s team after the hardline Taliban’s takeover last month.

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The change of government has called into question the future of Afghanistan’s participation in Test matches, as under International Cricket Council regulations, nations must also have an active women’s team.

The Taliban are yet to announce a policy on women playing sport, but a senior official has said it would be “not necessary”.

Avoiding commenting on the latest developments, Fazli said he planned to visit other regional cricketing powers.

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“I am taking a tour of Pakistan from September 25 and then will go to India, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates to meet officials of cricket boards,” he told AFP over the phone from Kabul.

Fazli said he would meet new Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja, “and offer to host Pakistan for the series which we were due to play in Sri Lanka in September”.

The three-match one-day series between Pakistan and Afghanistan was cancelled over logistical problems and a Covid-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka. It was part of a one-day league which is a qualification process for the 2023 World Cup.

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“We are seeking to improve Afghanistan cricket so that will come with cooperation from other countries,” Fazli added.

Raja confirmed Fazli would visit Pakistan.

Fazli, in his second term as chairman after serving the board from September 2018 to July 2019, said he was committed to improving facilities in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan are in Group 2 of the Super 12 stages of the Twenty20 World Cup due to start from October 17 in the United Arab Emirates.

Australia has threatened to cancel a Test match with Afghanistan in Brisbane in November unless the Taliban allow women to play cricket.

The new rulers on Tuesday sacked Hamid Shinwari as Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive, replacing him with Naseeb Zadran Khan, linked to the Haqqani network, which is responsible for some of the worst attacks in the country’s history.

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