Afghanistan news September 7, 2010

Afghanistan ready to tour Pakistan - Khaliq Dad

Cricinfo staff

Afghanistan seamer Khaliq Dad has lent his support to Pakistan, saying his team was ready to travel to the terror-hit country though other international sides were reluctant to do so.

Dad, who led Afghanistan's youth team to victory in a club-level tournament in Karachi, said, "It is always fantastic to play in Pakistan and I sincerely hope that international cricket returns to this cricket-loving country."

Pakistan has been a no-go zone for international teams since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore last year. Following the attack, the ICC stripped Pakistan of its matches in the 2011 World Cup and forced them to play what would have been their home series in UAE, New Zealand and England.

Dad also endorsed the growing interest for the game in Afghanistan, following the national side's rise through the ranks from the lower divisions of the World Cricket League to playing in the 2010 World Twenty20. "You saw the talent in the team and this is because cricket is now a craze in Afghanistan. From south to west, we have more and more interest in the game and more academies have opened and more companies are coming into the game.

"It may sound incredible, but I tell you girls are taking a big interest in cricket and, although the society restrictions mean women's cricket will take some time, interest is huge," he said.