AFGHANISTAN’S GROUNDS GROW

Nangarhar claim the 2010 Inter-Provincial crown

It has been the ambition of the Afghanistan administrators for a number of years to embed cricket into the fabric of the country, and spread it beyond the regions bordering Pakistan. Afghanistan is now to have at least one cricket ground in all of its 34 provinces within the next two years, says Afghanistan Cricket Board Chairman Dr. Omar Zakhilwal. Outside of the ground development funds made available by the ACC and ICC, US$1.1 million is being given by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Alongside these funds, individuals across the country are being encouraged to support cricket and a number are coming forward with parcels of land and financial backing.

Dr. Zakhilwal was speaking at the conclusion of the ACB Inter-Provincial Cricket T20 Tournament which was won by Nangarhar, who beat Logar in the Final, by 120 runs after making 227 for 6. the ACB Chairman said that the existing Ground in Kabul where the Inter-Provincial Final was held will be upgraded and fixed seating built for 6000 as well as it becoming the new headquarters of the Board. Dr. Zakhilwal, also Afghanistan’s Finance Minister, said that new grounds will be completed in 10 provinces in 2011, and in the others in 2012. Two of them, in Kabul and Nangarhar will be of international standard. In addition 15 Academies are to be built over the next two years across the country.

Double-decker delights at Kabul Cricket Stadium

The Inter-Provincial tournament was a significant money-spinner for the ACB, with revenue coming from the sale of television rights, sponsorship and tickets. And as a development exercise, “the 90 best players were selected from the (24) participating teams to be given a chance for the national team,” says ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari.

Afghanistan’s next international cricket is the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November, where they are seeded fourth and have every chance of a medal.

Related:
Afghanistan Cricket Profile
Afghanistan’s Domestic Development
Kabul Shapes Up
USAID

Pictures courtesy of Ilham Yasini, ACB

Filed October 20th, 2010