Afghanistan are attempting to have more One-Day International (ODI) cricket fixtures leading into September 2017 cut-off for 2019 World Cup qualification by proposing annual bilateral games against India and teams touring the country starting from next year.
“If we sign the MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) which we sent to India, potentially Afghanistan Cricket Board will be in a better position than where we are right now, scheduling ODIs with India and scheduling ODIs with teams travelling to India on an annual basis,” ACB Chief Executive Shafiq Stanikzai was quoted as saying by 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 also said he had already sent the draft to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Anurag Thakur and had a word or two with him during the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference in Edinburgh a few days back. However, the BCCI officials have not yet spoken on the proposal.
Stanikzai believes shifting their home ground from Sharjah to Greater Noida, outside Delhi, will also help them get more games with sides touring the country.
“Since induction into the FTP, a larger challenge arose for Afghanistan,” Stanikzai said.
“A is arranging fixtures with Full Members and B is funding it and finding funds to accommodate your needs. The expectation of the Afghanistan people has grown immensely. Afghanistan Cricket Board is under tremendous amount of pressure by not having fixtures with Full Members.”
A strategic plan unveiled recently by the ACB set targets for Afghanistan to be a top-six ODI team by 2019 and a top-three team in both T20Is and ODIs by 2025.
The Chief Executive believes the goals are real but added they would need to play enough fixtures against Full Members to achieve them.
“The biggest challenge for us for the time being is the competition structure or the fixtures for Afghanistan to compete against Full Members,” Stanikzai said.
“That’s somewhere we are lacking and somewhere we need the support from ICC, or maybe Full Member boards should realise they need to make this great game more globalised and take it into the Associate world,” he added.
“Afghanistan team is rapidly growing and the flow that Afghanistan national team currently is in is quite brilliant. If we don’t get any fixtures — we don’t have any confirmed fixtures after our Holland game for the rest of the year — so we are in danger of losing the flow, the momentum we have gained so far in the last nine to 12 months.” (Hindustan Times)