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Afghanistan T20 tournament postponed, says official

07 Sep, 2021
The Shpageeza Cricket League was due to feature eight franchises. File photo
The Shpageeza Cricket League was due to feature eight franchises. File photo

Afghanistan’s professional T20 cricket tournament, which was due to start on Friday, has been postponed, an official from the country's cricket board (ACB) told Reuters.

The Shpageeza Cricket League was due to feature eight franchises – up from 2020’s six – including holders The Kabul Eagles.

Top Afghan players, including world number three T20 bowler, leg-spinner Rashid Khan, were set to play in the 15-day league, which was expected to be contested across the country.

However, after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, the future of many sporting events in the country remains uncertain.

First staged in 2013, the Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) had said this year’s edition of the Shpageeza would take place, even after the Taliban swept to power.

But on Monday an ACB spokesperson said that it would not be going ahead.

"Unfortunately the Shpageeza Cricket League has been postponed,” the spokesperson said. “We'd been hoping that it could be staged, but it isn't viable at the moment.

“The current financial situation in the country makes it impossible for such an event to go ahead, so the eight franchises and the Afghan Cricket Board agreed that it should be postponed to a later date.

“We are still hoping to stage it at some point in the future if the financial issues in Afghanistan are resolved.”

Granted test status in 2017, Afghanistan are due to play at this year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which begins in October.

The ACB was hoping the Shpageeza tournament would also double as a warm-up for their players for that event.

Last month, the ACB cancelled a three-match ODI series in Pakistan, citing the situation in Afghanistan, the difficulty in travelling and player welfare.