x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Afghanistan could line up in Pakistan's Twenty20 event

A request to take part with regional teams may well see the light of the day.

Afghanistan are looking to grow after having impressed at the Associate members level.
Afghanistan are looking to grow after having impressed at the Associate members level.

Afghanistan's fast-rising cricket team are likely to feature in Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 event later this year, an official said yesterday.

Sultan Rana, the director of domestic operations at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said Pakistan was pondering 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 said.

Besides Afghanistan, 13 regional teams 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 the attack by gunmen on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009.

Cricket became popular in war-ravaged Afghanistan in the early 2000s when refugees, who had learnt to play 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.

Also yesterday, a Pakistani court summoned cricket authorities to explain why they have not cleared Danish Kaneria to play after the leg-spin bowler was released without charge in a spot-fixing case.

Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield, a fellow bowler with the English county side Essex, were arrested last year on charges of spot-fixing during a Pro40 match against Durham in 2009.

Kaneria was later released without being charged but Westfield faces criminal proceedings.

Kaneria featured in Pakistan's Test series against England last year but has not been selected since for international matches because he has not been formally cleared by the PCB.

His lawyer, Farogh Naseem, said the PCB has been summoned for July 26, after the 30-year-old went to court last week in a bid to revive his international career. Taffazul Rizvi, a PCB legal adviser, said court orders will be followed. "Once we get the orders, we will follow them," Rizvi said. "

Kaneria said: "I have given every document to the PCB but they are not clearing me. I have committed no crime and that's why Essex police and my county have cleared me.

"My priority is to play for Pakistan but I don't know for what crime I am being punished by the PCB."

The leg-spinner has taken 261 wickets in 61 Tests, and 15 wickets in 18 one-day internationals.

* Agence France-Presse