Ghani to bat for a home ground in India

When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani visits India next week, cricket is most likely to be on the agenda.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board is hoping that Mr. Ghani will convince his hosts to allocate a home ground in India — better if it is the Feroz Shah Kotla here — for the Afghan team to play international matches. The demand was made even in 2013.

As cricket-crazy as India, Afghanistan has been making efforts to get the Board of Control for Cricket in India to play mentor to, and share expertise with, its upcoming cricketers. The team now uses the Sharjah cricket ground for matches.

A source said that prior to the just-concluded World Cup, Mr. Ghani had invited the Afghanistan cricket team for a breakfast meeting and assured it all help to give the game a boost in the country. As the issue of India extending help to the players and the cricket board had been discussed several times in the past, the President told the players that he was likely to discuss it during his upcoming visit.

The Afghan side has been seeking inclusion of some of its players in the Indian Premier League, though there have been no takers so far.

Afghan Cricket Board chief seeks India’s help

Basheer Stanekzai, manager of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, has said that the country holds Indian players in high esteem and is looking for help from the Indian side.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, during his visit to India next week, is most likely to seek a home ground for his national team in India.

“It will really help our players if India were to reserve a home ground for us. Our players are good; they need exposure and facilities like camps. If the younger ones get to play in India, they can get noticed and picked for IPL [Indian Premier League] teams. Besides, we are also hopeful that the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] will help us with technical assistance and its facilities which are of international standards,” Mr. Stanekzai told The Hindu.

Rajeev Shukla, IPL chairman, said India was keen that cricket should develop in Afghanistan and was ready to help. “In the past also, whenever Afghanistan has approached the BCCI for help, it has been forthcoming,” Mr. Shukla said.

Indian officials, however, are tight-lipped about Afghanistan’s demand for inclusion in the IPL. “India has offered to help with the construction of a stadium in Kandahar, but as far as IPL is concerned, it is for the owners of the teams to be convinced about, and be interested in, picking the players — after all, it is big money,” an official said.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 6:11:45 AM |

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