Afghanistan likely to join Pakistan T20


Afghanistan’s fast-rising cricket team are likely to feature in Pakistan’s domestic Twenty20 event later this year, an official said on Monday. Sultan Rana, director of domestic operations at the Pakistan Cricket Board, said Pakistan was considering a request from Afghanistan to take part. “We are considering that and they are likely to feature in our event in September-October this year and I hope they add to the glamour of the event,” he told AFP. Besides Afghanistan, 13 regional teams, with Pakistan’s largest cities of Karachi and Lahore fielding two teams each, will take part in the event.
Afghanistan, who graduated to one-day status in 2009 and played in the World Twenty20 a year later, in May became the first cricketing side to visit Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in March 2009. Cricket became popular in war-ravaged Afghanistan in the early 2000s when refugees who had learnt the game in camps in Pakistan where they lived after fleeing the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979 returned home. Pakistan have been at the forefront of helping Afghanistan develop as a cricketing nation, providing them with facilities and equipment.
They also allowed Afghanistan to play in Pakistan’s Grade-II event, a non-first-class tournament in 2002. “I have always believed that Afghanistan’s development among the new Asian cricketing nations has been the best and they will grow further,” said Rana.