Experience gained by our players will be invaluable, says ACB Chief Executive
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced today that the Pakistan and Afghanistan Cricket Boards had reached agreement for a T20 match between the two countries’ national teams on 8 December this year in Sharjah Cricket Ground in the United Arab Emirates.
This will be only the third time Afghanistan has played against a Full Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). They played Pakistan in February 2012 and Australia in August 2012.
Early in the year the ACB signed an MoU with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in which the PCB promised support for cricket in Afghanistan. The upcoming T20 match is the first match being undertaken as a part of that MoU.
Pakistan was the first Full Member country to agree to play a match against Afghanistan. In that match Afghanistan made 195 (48.3/50 ov) and was fairly soundly defeated by Pakistan with 198/3 (37.1/50 ov), and winning by 7 wickets (with 77 balls remaining).
The match took place in the Sharjah Cricket Ground in the UAE – the official home ground of Afghanistan – and attracted a big, enthusiastic crowd of more than 15,000 people. Large numbers of Pakistanis and Afghans live and work in the UAE and the December match is expected to draw a similar crowd.
“We are very pleased to be able to announce with the PCB the T20 match between our two countries,” Dr Noor Mohammad Murad, Chief Executive of the ACB, said, “we are excited by the opportunity to play against a full member nation, especially Pakistan which is our great cricketing friend. Win or lose, the experience gained by our players will be absolutely invaluable.”
“One of the issues for Afghanistan cricket in recent years has been that we are amongst the top teams of amongst the other Associate and Affiliate members and we tend to win a high percentage of our matches against them. Our national team needs the challenge of playing against some of the elite cricket teams like Pakistan and Australia in order to raise their performance level. So far only Pakistan and Australia have given us this opportunity, but we are hoping that more Full Member nations will follow their example.
“We believe we can give the Pakistani team a good run for its money in December. T20 is one of our strengths and last year we gave India a scare in the ICC World T20 2012. We hope to give the Pakistani team a strong challenge and, who knows, maybe even more than that.”