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9 Sep 2021
Clearing the air on their participation in the upcoming T20 World Cup, ICC Action CEO Geoff Allardice on Sunday said that the Afghanistan cricket team are preparing as “normal” for the global event. Allardice echoed the status of Afghanistan in the ICC membership structure and said that being a full member, they are all set to play in the group stage of the tournament.
"They are a full member at the ICC and the team is preparing for the event (World Cup) at the moment (and) will be playing in (the) Group league. In terms of their participation, it is proceeding as normal," Allardice said in a virtual conference call.
There have been uncertainties surrounding the fate of the game in Afghanistan after the takeover by the Taliban. After forcing itself to power, the Taliban had sacked Hamid Shinwari from the post of CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board and replaced him with Naseed Zadran Khan.
Allardice maintained that the ICC has been in continuous communication with the ACB officials and that it is firm on its objective of supporting the development of the game in the country.
"Yes, I think, when the change of regime took place in Afghanistan in August, we have been in regular contact with their cricket board, the Afghanistan Cricket Board and our primary function is to support the development of cricket in that country through the member board," Allardice said.
ICC’s CEO statement more or less confirm Afghanistan’s participation in the T20 World Cup but at the same time, he refused to give clarity on the future of the country as ICC’s member nation. He said that the ICC board will consider the changes that have taken place or are likely to take place in the near future in the next round of meeting
"We are waiting to see how things unfold under the different regimes in that country and we will do that through the cricket board. The ICC Board will consider it when they next meet, which is looking like at the end of the T20 World Cup,” Allardice concluded.
After administrative changes in ACB and subsequent banning of Women’s game in the country, there were threats of isolation from other rich boards such as Cricket Australia. However, the ICC Acting CEO statement has put all those speculations to rest, albeit for the foreseeable future.