Pakistan to play T20 friendly in Kabul

Afghanistan and Pakistan are all set to play each other in two T20 friendly ties in July-August. The decision was taken following a meeting between Af...

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Afghanistan and Pakistan are all set to play each other in two T20 friendly ties in July-August. The decision was taken following a meeting between Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Atif Mashal and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan in Lahore on Saturday (May 27).PCB ACB

While one T20 will be played in Kabul, the second one will be hosted by Pakistan in Lahore. The two teams will also play a bilateral series, with the dates of that contest yet to be fixed. “The relationship between the two boards and the two nations is historic. It is not new,” Mashal said following the meeting. “I am here to renew our commitment and sports should not be influenced by the politics of two governments. I am happy to have great discussion with Pakistan Cricket Board and agreed on various plans.

“We are renewing this relation with a friendly match between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Kabul and then we will return to Pakistan to play one. We have also agreed to play a bilateral series for which dates will be decided later,” he added.

PCB have also agreed to host a preparatory camp for Afghanistan’s Under-19 team in Karachi ahead of their bilateral series against Pakistan’s Under-19 side. They will also make their Bio Mechanical facility available for testing of Afghanistan’s cricketers apart from pushing for a greater interaction of ACB in Asian Cricket Council and International Cricket Council.

With the Afghanistan team currently using Greater Noida in India as their adopted home venue, the PCB have also agreed to work on providing their neighbours a stadium in Pakistan that can be used as a home venue.

“We know there is tension in the border but it’s my job as chairman of Afghanistan cricket board to keep this interaction between two cricketing nations going and to help governments start something positive,” Mashal said.

“We are trying our best to keep sports, especially cricket, away from politics as well as looking for our national interest. Still, sports is sports and we should use this as a tool to influence the politics arena positively and create a good atmosphere between two friendly and brotherly nations.”

Mashal also dismissed the notion that this new development could have a bearing on Afghanistan’s ties with India. “Relation with Pakistan doesn’t mean we don’t have relation with India,” he pointed out. “They are also a strategic partner, a friend and they also support Afghanistan cricket. Pakistan did a great job in the development of Afghanistan cricket and we value both nations.”

Following the meeting, Mashal’s counterpart Shaharyar congratulated Afghanistan on their rapid rise on the international stage and was hopeful of strengthening the ties between the two nations going forward. “We have a very deep set and brotherly relationship with our neighbor board the ACB,” he said. “PCB has played a leading role in the past to support the ACB and the development of Afghan Cricket.

“We have had a very positive meeting today where we have identified areas of future cooperation between the two boards. We congratulate the ACB on the heartening success and popularity of Afghan Cricket and look forward to working with our partners at the ACB to further the strong bond between our two boards.”

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