Pakistan-Afghanistan ODI series delayed until the next year


A one-day series between Pakistan and Afghanistan, scheduled for next month in Sri Lanka , has been postponed until 2022 following the Taliban’s takeover of power in Afghanistan.

The two countries were thanks to play three ODI matches in early September in Sri Lanka , but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said late on Monday that the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) had requested the series be postponed.

“The PCB has accepted the ACB’s request to postpone next month’s ODI series thanks to players’ psychological state issues, disruption on the wing operations in Kabul, lack of broadcast facilities and increased Covid-19 cases in Sri Lanka ,” the PCB tweeted.

“The two boards have agreed that the series, which was planned from September 1-8, are going to be rescheduled for 2022,” the statement said.

“We have worked very closely with the ACB to form this series happen and were keen to play them within the inaugural bilateral series, but we understand their challenges and have, therefore, agreed to reschedule the series for 2022,” PCB Director International Cricket Zakir Khan.

“The PCB historically enjoys a superb relationship with the ACB and can do everything to make sure the series is played in 2022 because it is critical for both the edges in terms of direct qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup ,” he said.

With commercial flights from Kabul airport yet to resume, media reports said the Afghanistan team had been looking to visit Pakistan by road and fly to Colombo via Dubai.

But the logistical challenges increased after Sri Lanka last week announced a 10-day lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, as surging infections and deaths overwhelm the island’s health system.

The Taliban have said they might not interfere with men’s cricket within the country, Afghanistan’s biggest sporting success of recent years. The fate of the women’s programme, however, remains unclear.

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