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Afghanistan seek members’ support ahead of crucial ICC meeting

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(Last Updated On: October 18, 2021)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has requested the support of other full members of the International Cricket Council ahead of next month’s crucial meeting where the game’s future in the South Asian country is likely to be decided, Reuters reported.

The strife-torn nation’s remarkable rise has been cricket’s biggest fairytale story in recent times but Afghanistan risk isolation following the country’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [IEA] takeover in August.

According to the report Cricket Australia (CA) has already threatened to scrap next month’s one-off test in Hobart between the men’s teams if the new government in Kabul did not allow women to play the sport.

World governing body ICC had taken a wait-and-watch approach on whether Afghanistan can continue as a full member – allowing it to play test matches – but will discuss the issue at a board meeting after the Twenty20 World Cup in the Middle East.

“ACB is committed to work for the development of cricket in the country and hope the ICC full members will provide their support,” Afghan board chairman Azizullah Fazli told Reuters.

Fazli said last month the ACB was committed to women’s cricket but was awaiting instructions from the IEA government on its future.

The IEA officials have said they will not repeat the harsh rule of the previous IEA government, which banned most girls’ education and forbade women from going out in public without a male guardian.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley has said the Hobart test was likely to be postponed until there was more clarity on the impact of the IEA takeover on sports in Afghanistan.

Fazli said he would meet CA officials on the sidelines of the Twenty20 World Cup and try to convince them to continue with the match as scheduled, Reuters reported.

“We are in touch with the CA management regarding the test match, and soon we will meet CA leadership to discuss it and further the friendship of CA and ACB,” Fazli said in text messages.

The ACB chief added that the uncertainty would not affect the performance of the Afghanistan team under captain Mohammad Nabi, read the report.

“The Afghanistan national cricket team is well prepared to do their best in the T20 World Cup,” he said.

Afghanistan will begin their Super 12 stage campaign with an Oct. 25 clash against a qualifier in Sharjah.

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Klusener to step down as Afghanistan’s cricket coach

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Former South Africa allrounder Lance Klusener will step down as the head coach of Afghanistan’s national cricket team when his contract expires on December 31.

Klusener, who was appointed in September 2019, said in a statement issued on Monday he will not renew his contract.

“Having spent two years with the team, I will take away some memorable moments with me,” he said.

“As I walk away from Afghanistan cricket team and its cricketing structure, I look forward to the next stage in my coaching career and opportunities it brings.”

Klusener took over as head coach from Andy Moles, who was serving in an interim capacity after the exit of Phil Simmons following the 2019 World Cup.

While Afghanistan hardly played any cricket in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team did reasonably well under Klusener, winning one out of the three Tests, three out of the six ODIs and nine out of 14 T20Is.

Considered one of the best South African all-rounders during his playing days (1996 to 2004), Klusener scored 1,906 runs and took 80 wickets in 49 Tests. He also scored 3,576 runs and got 192 wickets in 171 ODIs.

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Messi claims record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time on Monday, beating Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy yet again, Reuters reported.

The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said at Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet.

“It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.

“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”

Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season after finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with the Spanish club, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Chelsea, named club of the year, also had keeper Edouard Mendy finishing second in the Yashin trophy behind Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, read the report.

According to the women’s Ballon d’Or went to Alexia Putellas after the Spain midfielder guided Barcelona to Champions League glory.

“The key moment was the Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais,” she said.

Putellas is the third winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019. There was no ceremony last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On a good night for Barcelona, the 19-year-old Pedri was awarded the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 player, Reuters reported.

“The best way to celebrate turning 19 is receiving this award. I’d like to thank everyone at Barcelona for helping me here,” he said.

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ACB announces Afghan women’s cricket will remain intact

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(Last Updated On: November 24, 2021)

Mirwais Ashraf, the newly appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) acting Chairman, said at a meeting with departmental managers that women will continue to play cricket as normal, the ACB said in a statement.

Mirwais Ashraf said that women’s cricket is one of the major requirements of the ICC and they are committed to meeting their obligations.

“Our girls will be playing cricket on the normal basis and we are looking to provide them with their basic needs and all the facilities they need,” he said.

He also said that the ICC requirements are valued by the ACB and they are doing their best to meet them.

He also said that they will work hard to arrange more games for the national teams with other cricket nations.

On internal issues, he said that they will work to solve the problems together. “Every employee must stay committed to the ACB and must strive hard to do well in their own parts”.

ACB’s CEO Naseeb Khan congratulated Mirwais Ashraf on his new post and said this appointment was a good move for the organization.

Naseeb Khan also pointed out they have had lots of effective meetings with various stakeholders in the UAE.

“We have had a productive meeting with the BCCI head Mr. Sourav Ganguly, and also have met officials from other cricketing nations to discuss a lot about having bilateral ties with them,”Khan added.

The departmental managers meanwhile welcomed the appointment of Mirwais Ashraf as the acting chairman of the ACB, assured him off their support and collaboration.

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