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Afghanistan look to Pakistan for growth

Umar Farooq

January 21, 2013

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

Afghanistan celebrate a wicket, Afghanistan v India, World T20, Group A, Colombo, September, 19, 2012
Afghanistan will prepare in Lahore for their series against Scotland in March © Getty Images
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Afghanistan will attend a four-week conditioning camp in Pakistan ahead of their international fixtures against Scotland in March. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is also contemplating a long-term plan to make Pakistan the national team's base for the next five years.

During their camp at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Afghanistan will train under the supervision of the PCB's coaches besides their own head coach Kabir Khan. Their preparations include a series of 12 matches against various regional teams and Pakistan A.

Afghanistan have ODI status till 2015 and have been using Sharjah Cricket Stadium as their home ground since 2010 due to a lack of cricketing infrastructure in the country. They are now looking to shift base to Pakistan.

"The idea is play and train with the quality cricketing structure in Pakistan," Kabir Khan, the Afghanistan coach, told a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "Sharjah gave us basic facilities but unfortunately we didn't find quality cricket to develop with. We need quality programmes and Pakistan, with a rich cricketing background, can help us. Apart from the cricketing aspect, the cost of being in Sharjah is a lot more than here in Pakistan.

"We are in process of building our infrastructure (in Afghanistan) and have two stadiums as well. But we don't have academies, if we have academies then we don't have specialised coaches. In Pakistan we can find the quality coaches and quality teams to play with. We are here with the top 22 cricketers from Afghanistan including the budding talent from the Under-19 circuit. Only three of our top cricketers - Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari - (are not here) have gone to play in Bangladesh Premier League."

Afghanistan will be making their third trip to Pakistan in the last two years, having lost a one-day series 3-0 to a second-string Pakistan side in May 2011 followed by their participation in a domestic Twenty20 competition in Karachi.

The talks between the PCB and the ACB about a comprehensive development programme for Afghanistan cricketers in Pakistan are currently at a preliminary stage but both boards have 'verbally' agreed to a long-term deal.

"We are working out a deal that will help Afghanistan's cricketers in their development," said Intikhab Alam, the PCB director for game development. "Another idea in the pipeline is to induct their team in our domestic one-day and Twenty20 tournaments, as that would be a good opportunity for their development process."

Afghanistan last competed in the Asian Cricket Council Elite Trophy in October, finishing in third place. Their next international fixture is against Scotland, a two-ODI series at Sharjah Stadium, before taking them on in the ICC World Cricket League Championship.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by khurramsch on (January 23, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

good thing. it wil be better to include afghan team in pak domestic events. plus icc should get in and try to give more games with bigger teams to smalll teams like ireland, AFGH, scotland. cricket should be promoted. its been many years a full member came in.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

I used to play Cricket with Afghan brothers..Here in Peshawar you'll find this thing in every street.Their talent is on par with Pakistan.They just need to get some experience & play a lot of matches with other nations.

Posted by wakaPAK on (January 23, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

We know Cricket has a potential to become the major sports and we know some countries like USA and european countries can embrace this game but nobody's doing anything. Let's be honest guys; Pakistan is doing great in promoting the game.... This is what counts. Pakistan is better than those so called leaders who have money but use the game for political score pointing and are the worst leaders the cricket has ever seen. ICC also is doing nothing in promoting the sports; we are not seeing any results and that's why such gestures from Pakistan become even more important. People finding faults with anything Pakistan do should learn to appreciate what it is doing for sports and see beyond the biased spectacles.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2013, 2:02 GMT)

LOVE, ADMIRATION AND RESPECT TO AFGHAN NATION FROM BANGLADESH for their courageous approach in world cricket, even though they had been surrounded by problematic circumstances.Thanx to PAKISTAN for helping them out. We really wanted pakistani brothers to play in bpl. but nevertheless we would be more than happy if afgan players join bpl.Please watch bpl support us and be with us and lets make hell of of a community of south asian cricket.lets not talk about the past and spoil our brotherhood rather try to build a stronger community that can assure that we could dominate world cricket.love to all 4m Bangladesh.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

pakistan played a very Vital role in Sri lanka Cricket. i remembered srilanka team visited pakistan every year and they played alots of matches. that was the bad period of srilnka team but they learn and improved their self by pakistani players technics

Posted by wiseshah on (January 22, 2013, 21:38 GMT)

its good that pak helps afghan and saf helps zimbabwe, england helps ireland, holland and also takes away their best players, aus helps NZ, when india will help bangladesh and invite them for a full series?

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

very thnx to Solid_Snake, thanks to pakistan in advance for helping afghanistan cricket infact the whole afghanistan!

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 22, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Very good gesture by PCB. Its gona definatly help Afghanistan team. i wish other teams could be that friendly as well because international cricket is going under too much politics and its not helping cricket in any way.

Posted by wiseshah on (January 22, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

only 10 country play cricket and top 5 call other 5 minnows, how funny

Posted by MunafAhmed811 on (January 22, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

A lot of Pakistani fans seem to be blowing the trumpet that they helped their neighbors grow and got nothing in return. Is that what they tell you in your media? Wow too good to be true aint it?

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