Afghanistan gets new 'home'
UAE the new homeground for Afghanistan (Source: Twitter)
For the next five years UAE will be the home ground for the Afghanistan cricket team. Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) have signed an agreement and firmed the deal. As per the agreement, Afghanistan will now play a three-match T20I series each year, for the next five years in UAE.
The statement on the development by ACB stated- "The ECB will provide valuable logistic support to the Afghanistan Cricket Board, including visa assistance and office space."
Lately, Afghanistan has been playing and training in UAE. But till now this has been on a series by series basis and now at last there's a formal long term-deal on the matter.
The hostle political situation in Afghanistan has made it a firbidden kingdom for the international teams. The situation peaked with the administration taken over by Taliban in Ausgust 2021. The Taliban heist was followed by several ACB staff fleeing the country, which increased the challenge of arranging visas for the players based in Afghanistan. The UAE board later stepped in as they arranged the residential visas of about two dozen Afghan players.
The schedule ahead for Afghanistan leading to the ODI World Cup 2023, will see them hosting Australia, Pakistan and West Indies in three ODIs each. This will folloowed by an all format series against Zimbabwe. These matches can be spread in the UAE across venues such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Mushabir Usmani, the ECB secretary spoke about this recent development.
"Both parties, the Emirates Cricket Board and the Afghanistan Cricket Board enjoy long and cordial relations and we are happy to support the ACB in ensuring that they have a home for their cricket.
"We are also thankful to the Afghanistan Cricket Board for agreeing to play a series of T20I matches against UAE Team each year. This will provide our UAE team with invaluable exposure and help in their development."
Notably, ACB used the National Cricket Academy in Lahore as a training base in 2013 and signed a similar deal with the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2017. While in 2015, ACB had a deal with BCCI to station their training base at Greater Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi.