Afghanistan is ready to play bilateral series in India start in September 2017. In order to have more one-day International (ODI) cricket fixtures, ACB Chief Executive, Shafik Stanikzai has decided to shift their home ground Sharjah to Greater Noida, India. He also believes that shifting from their home base Sharjah to Greater Noida, will help them to get a maximum number of games with sides touring India. The aim is to play a maximum number of ODI fixtures ahead of September 2017 cut-off for the ICC World Cup 2019.
Currently, Afghanistan is playing in five-matches ODI series with Ireland. Afghanistan is leading five-matches ODI series by 1-0 against Ireland after two-matches. Before this series, they won two-matches ODI series by 1-0 against Scotland.
“If we sign to MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) which we sent to India, potentially Afghanistan Cricket Board will be in better position than where we are right now, scheduling ODI with India and scheduling ODI with teams travelling to India on an annual basis”, ACB Chief Executive, Shafik Stanikzai told ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday.
“But still, it will be bilateral ties. If a travelling team to India wants to play us in India, it is totally up to them.” Stanikzai further said.
Stanikzai also said that he had already presented the draft to BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) President Anurag Thakur in May. A few days back, during the ICC (International Cricket Council) annual conference in Edinburgh he had further discussions. However, not even a single comment on the proposal had been given by the BCCI officials.
Speaking on the challenges faced by Afghanistan, Stanikzai said “Induction into the FTP would be a larger challenge for them.” Being in the FTP the window has opened but the challenges are much greater.
He also said that the competition structure or the fixtures for Afghanistan to compete against full members is the biggest challenge for us as the time being.
Recently, a strategic plan unveiled by the ACB set the targets for the Afghanistan to be a top six-ODI team by 2019 and a top-three team in T20oIs & ODIs by 2025.
In order to achieve their goals, they would need to play enough fixtures against full members, Chief Executive believes.
“A is arranging fixtures with full members and B is funding it and finding funds to accommodate your needs”. Afghanistan people’s expectations have grown immensely. Afghanistan Cricket Board has a tremendous amount of pressure as Afghanistan have not fixtures with full members. Comparatively, Ireland has obtained 14 (11) fixtures with full members.
Stanikzai further added that somewhere we are lacking and somewhere we need the support from ICC or, may be full Board Members should realise they need to make this great game more globalised and take it into the Associate world.
Afghanistan team is growing rapidly and the flow that Afghanistan national team currently is in is quite brilliant. We are in a danger of losing the flow, the momentum which has gained so far in the last nine to twelve months, if we don’t get any fixture or any confirmed fixture after Holland game for the rest of the year.