Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Atif Mashal has revealed the cricket board is planning to launch its own league in a few months. The league will be called Afghanistan Premier League, and will be organised on the lines of the highly-successful Indian Premier League (IPL) as well as a few other T20 tournaments. The Afghanistan Premier League will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and several international players are expected to be a part of it. A cricket stadium is also being constructed in Kabul, and it is one of the priorities for the Afghanistan Cricket Board this year.
“The Afghan Premier League is good news for Afghans. The league will be held in the [United Arab] Emirates at the end of this year or at the beginning of the new year. Afghanistan Cricket Board annually receives more than $8.5 million USD from government, the International Cricket Council and Alokozay Group of Companies and other companies for improvement of the sport in the country,” Mashal was quoted as saying by Tolo News.
“The league is important for Afghans because it will provide financial facilities for team members and basically the national cricket team members will play with the world’s best players,” Mashal said.
According to Mashal, Afghanistan are hopeful to become ICC’s full member with on the back of their on-field achievements. “We will have meetings with the ICC officials where they will make a number of decisions which will be important for Afghanistan,” he said.
Mashal also revealed that a three-year strategy has been put in place to take Afghanistan cricket ahead, which includes the challenges faced by the cricket board. “We have started a five-year review plan and a company is already working on it but I am not naming it because I don’t want them to be put under pressure by any side. They have already started an audit into Afghanistan Cricket Board’s activities over the past three years,” Mashal said.
“We have found many gaps but it is too early to talk about it. We are waiting for the last report and we cannot rely an uncompleted report. The report will be complete in the next 25 days … We have given them (the investigation team) full access to all documents,” he stated.
“As I am watching raw materials of the inspection, there are [corruption] cases from the former administration [of the cricket board] but it is too early to make any decision in this respect,” he said.
Talking further about the country’s cricketers, Mashal said best coaches have been hired for the national players. “We have appointed special coaches for them and our stadium in India is at their service. We will also benefit from Sharjah field … In the future, we will not wait to select players for world cup tournaments; we will select the team according to the time [which will be given to us] and we will have a strong team. Today our team is ready to face any strong team in the world,” he said.
Afghanistan will also be playing a three-match T20I and ODI series against West Indies later this year. “We signed an agreement with the West Indies a few days ago. We have also requested all our friends and administration to live stream all matches because our people are highly interested to watch the matches. The team will also play against MCC in London,” he said.