Afghanistan gear up for testing schedule
Afghanistan's players have kicked off a hectic couple of months with the 25-over Inter-Provincial Tournament, which started in Jalalabad last Saturday. The participation of 22 provinces in the tournament is also expected to generate interest among those following Afghan cricket. There had been a perception that the game was played almost exclusively by members of the Pashto tribe in the east of the country.
Two teams will emerge from the 12-team first round of the tournament, for the next round. The top six will contest Afghanistan's main domestic event - a 50-over tournament in Kabul in May.
The team then travels to Sri Lanka, this coming Saturday (January 2), where it will take part in a 20-man training camp till January 20. The camp is in preparation for one of the busiest periods the team has ever faced.
From that camp, the squad for the Intercontinental Cup match against Ireland starting January 23 will be chosen. The fixture will be followed by a match against Sri Lanka A on January 28, the Sri Lanka Twenty20 Quadrangular tournament against Ireland, Canada and Sri Lanka A from January 31 to February 3 and the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in the UAE from February 9-13. One-dayers and an Intercontinental Cup match against Canada are up next.
Joining the training camp will be two young players, allrounder Pameer Hussani, and left-handed batsman Najeeb Zadran, who captained the national Under-15 and Under-17 teams with success and gained experience from being part of the national team setup.