The future of Afghanistan cricket with Taliban takeover
Afghanistan has always been a nation with political unrest. Now with a big historic development of Taliban taking over the country , the nation apparently looks at an uncertain future in all spheres including sports and cricket .
Only 3 years ago , Afghanistan has been admit to full ICC membership playing their inaugural test vs India . They did reasonably well in World cup 2019 and almost upset India in the league game .
Due to difficulties in hosting matches for political unrest within the country , Afghanistan was helped a lot by BCCI as their matches with other countries, Tests , ODIs , T20Is were host in India in venues like Lucknow and Dehradun .
Three of Afghanistan’s best cricketers Rashid Khan , Mujeeb and Mohammad Nabi plays in IPL and other T20 leagues across the globe . The nation is also giving rise to other cricket talents who are bound to serve Afghanistan cricket for a long time. The future of Afghanistan cricket with Taliban takeover .
However the surprise development of Taliban taking over the country has once again thrown open an uncertain future for Afghan cricket . The Afghanistan President Mr Ashraf Ghani has already left the country . Many Afghanistan citizens have started leaving the country due to this situation . Also many Indians working in Afghanistan are taking flights back to India. As there has been a madness rush of people who want to leave Afghanistan.
Though it is not known yet how the Taliban government will react on the sporting activities. However the fact is that they have taken over the sports stadiums .Only future will tell how much support the Taliban regime will extend to Afghanistan cricket.
In recent times the Afghanistan cricket board has revamped their coaching group. They have taken former Aussie quick Shaun Tait as their bowling coach, former Ireland allrounder John Mooney is their fielding coach and former South African allrounder great Lance Klusener is their head coach.
India also has representation in the Afghanistan coaching staff as Prasanth Panchada and Saurab Walkar are their head physio. Computer analyst respectively since early this year.
“We had a lovely time in Kabul. Met a lot of nice people, enjoyed a different culture. We are in touch with the ACB officials, and hopefully we will have a clear picture soon. Afghanistan cricket needs all the help now to continue in the path of progress,” said Panchada, who was in Afghanistan capital as recently as in July.
The ACB was suppose to host the 8th edition of the Shpageeza Cricket League 2021 in September. However it is now in doubt with Taliban capturing many cricket stadiums across Afghanistan along with the home cities.
However , the ACB cricket CEO, Hamid Shinwari is of the view that Taliban loves cricket. Therefore the game is likely to receive a boost during their regime and hence may not be affect. Shinwari added that Taliban never interfered in cricket activities as cricket’s rise during 1996-2001 coincided with the Taliban rule with many Afghani refugees in Pakistan taking up the game.
Shinwari also added that the members of the national cricket team. Their families are safe even as Taliban regime has taken over the country.
Former Aghanistan cricket selector Asadullah Khan has also mentioned that cricket is likely to be in safe hands. He said that he visited personally many Taliban ruled areas and they really love the game of cricket
The BCCI is also very hopeful that cricket will not suffer due to the change of political situation in a volatile political country like Afghanistan and is certain that the Afghan cricketers Rashid , Mujeeb and Nabi will be available in IPL . However BCCI is keeping a close watch on the situation after the political upheavals in Afghanistan.
However Kevin Peitersen has reveal that Rashid Khan who is currently in England playing in the hundred format is very worry about his family in the wake of the sudden political change over in the country . Rashid currently is in no position to take his family out of the country.
Rashid Khan wrote in his post urging support for Afghanistan : “Dear World Leaders! My country is in chaos, thousand of innocent people, including children & women, get martyred everyday, houses & properties being destruct. Thousands of families displaced. Don’t leave us in chaos. Stop killing Afghans & destroying of Afghanistan. We want peace,”
Afghanistan’s next itinerary is a 3 match ODI series vs Pakistan from 1 September in Colombo and as of now the series is on. Also ACB has given NOC for the IPL bound Afghanistan players to participate in the remainder of IPL 2021.
Though there are encouraging vibes coming from the ACB. The fact is with a big political change happening in Afghanistan which has already gone through volatile scenarios for ages. It still remains to be seen how Taliban handles their new found power. whether the Afghanistan people have the faith in the new government ? whether the economy will be stable ?There will be stabilty ? whether cricket will get its due ? Cricketers will be comfortable in their country with their families ? whether cricketers will be economically stable ? And most importantly whether peace will come back in the country ?
If only their is peace and stability in the country ,there will be cricket.
Only time will tell.