Afghanistan have been awarded US$422,000 for the development of a National Cricket Academy in Kabul via the ICC’s Targeted Assistance and Performance Programmme (TAPP). Afghanistan is the seventh country to benefit from the fund of US$12 million, which was created by the ICC in January 2012.

The ICC’s Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP), is aimed at developing more competitive teams among Full Members and Associate and Affiliate Members. It’s really an investment in the longer-term commercial values of the game: create more teams that can give the top countries a better run for their money on the field, and the rights values of the ICC World T20s and ICC World Cups increase.

Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, West Indies and Zimbabwe have already been awarded funding under the TAPP scheme. Not every country that applies necessarily receives a grant. For example, Canada also applied to the ICC at the same time as Afghanistan but were rejected at this stage. “This is a terrific boost for Afghanistan, a National Academy on the lines of the one in Lahore will not only go a long way in developing quality cricketers in Afghanistan, it gives a sense of cricket no longer being a nomadic game for the cricketers who have had to do the bulk of their training in Pakistan and the UAE in the absence of proper facilities at home,” says ACC Development Officer for Afghanistan Iqbal Sikander. The grant represents a small but significant part of the funding for the Academy Project which is likely to cost US$1.2 million.

The National Cricket Academy at Lahore where Afghanistan’s cricketers do some of their training

Afghanistan qualified for the two most recent ICC World Twenty20 tournaments and have had ODI status since 2009 through to 2015 via the ICC World Cup qualifier in 2009. They first became Affiliate Members in 2001. As they have risen, their cricket and administration has improved substantially.

Their rapid rise up the ranks will in all likelihood, never be matched by any other nation. They are, on the evidence of the World T20s and ODIs against Australia and Pakistan, still just a little short of A-grade status, this grant for an Academy will undoubtedly help them push towards the top.

Afghanistan are currently applying for ICC Associate Status as well.

ICC Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme beneficiaries:

West Indies Cricket Board – US$3 million over three years

New Zealand Cricket – US$1.8 million over three years

Zimbabwe Cricket Board - $US1.5 million over three years

Cricket Ireland – $US1.5 million over three years

Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond - $US1.5 million over three years

Cricket Scotland - $US1.5 million over three years

Afghanistan Cricket Board - $US422,000

Filed April 18th, 2013