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Afghanistan Calls Off Friendly Twenty20 Series Against Pakistan After Kabul Blast 

Afghanistan Calls Off Friendly Twenty20 Series Against Pakistan After Kabul Blast

After the Chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Atif Mashal in his media briefing in Lahore alongside his counterpart of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Shaharyar Khan has vowed to take their cricket relations to a new high on Saturday (27), the ACB on Thursday has cancelled the two friendly matches against Pakistan within a week, following the bomb blast in Kabul which left over 85 people dead on Wednesday morning (May 31).

As both parties discussed their cricketing ties to its length and breadth, the octogenarian PCB chief Shaharyar further briefed the visitors last month that a national cricket board PCB would also arrange a cricket ground for Afghanistan players, who could further play their home-based matches.

“In light of the findings of security services and calls by the Afghan people, the ACB hereby cancel all kinds of cricket matches and mutual relationship agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board,” the cricket board said in a statement.

The first game was scheduled in Kabul followed by second Twenty20 International in Lahore, in July and August, this year as the board came hard at the attackers by stating they can’t join hands after the mayhem.

“By killing innocent and destitute people today, the enemies of Afghanistan’s peace and stability showed that they are not worthy of friendship and will not change their stance against Afghans,” it said.

The relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been tense of late over border skirmishes, and cricket was seen as a means to bridge differences.

“The ACB administration would like to offer its prayers and thoughts to the victims of today’s attack in Kabul and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured in the attack,” it added.

As gentleman’s game seemed only option to bridge the gap between two neighbouring countries, the relation turned tense again following the gruesome attack which left over 400 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself near the German Embassy site which is close to the Presidential palace of Afghanistan in Kabul.

“No agreement of friendly matches and mutual relationship agreement is valid with a country where terrorists are housed and provided safe haven,” it concluded.

Earlier, Afghanistan was using its second home-base in Sharjah which they left for Noida in 2016 after ACB’s had a brief talk with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

In the May 25 Afghan League players’ auction, the different franchises availed the services of Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Rumman Raees, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Rizwan, Sohail Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.

However, on the other side, it hasn’t been cleared whether Pakistani players would feature in the six franchise-based fourth edition of the Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) could participate or not, but the sour relations between two countries over border skirmished might see players being barred from participating.

In 2013, stringing a cord, Afghanistan players were given all clearance to train at the National Academy in Lahore, but the ACB had opted to train in Greater Noida.

It’s pertinent to note, the tournament will kick start from July 18 to 28 in Kabul.

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