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Afghanistan Cricket CEO sacked for ‘misbehavior’

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(Last Updated On: July 28, 2020)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Monday sacked its CEO, Lutfullah Stanikzai, over performance issues. 

In a letter to Stanikzai, which was published on the ACB’s website, and signed by Farhan Yousefzai, the board’s chairman, Stanikzai was told his last day in office was Wednesday, July 29. 

Reasons given in the letter for his termination state mismanagement, unsatisfactory performance and misbehavior with managers. 

Yousefzai also said in the letter that Stanikzai was to hand over all equipment and documents belonging to the board by Wednesday.

In a statement issued on the ACB’s website, mention was made that Stanekzai had previously been issued verbal and written warnings.

Regarding his replacement, the statement read: “The post of Executive Director of the Cricket Board will be announced through open competition and a suitable candidate will be selected keeping in view the principles and policies of Human Resources (HR) of the Board.”

Meanwhile, speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Stanikzai said he was surprised by the development and first found out about it from social media and not by any communication from the board. 

He said he had spoken to Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, the state minister for parliamentary affairs, who sits on the ACB Board and even he was not aware.

“I spoke to a [ACB] board member and was told that they are not aware,” Stanikzai told ESPNcricinfo. 

“According to ACB constitution, the CEO is appointed by the Board and any decision concerning the CEO should be done by the Board,” he said.

Stanikzai, who had served previously as a media manager, was hired as the CEO on a three-year contract in July last year immediately after Afghanistan’s dismal performance at the 2019 World Cup where they finished last in the 10-team tournament without a single win.

Stanikzai had replaced Asadullah Khan who had been charged with breaching the ACB constitution and policies on various decisions. 

ESPNcricinfo reported that the ICC last year alerted the ACB that it was concerned by the inconsistency in the leadership in the Afghanistan board. 

That message was delivered by Imran Khawaja, then ICC’s deputy chairman, who was recently appointed as interim chair of the global cricket body.

It is understood that Khawaja raised three issues with the ACB last September: concerns about its leadership, the money that the ACB receives from the ICC be strictly utilised for development of cricket in the country and, thirdly, the ACB should strengthen its internal audit.

Afghanistan was granted Full Membership in 2017, which entitled them to a distribution cost from the ICC for participating in global tournaments. 

As per the new finance model, they would get around US$40 million for the 2016-23 commercial rights cycle for projected ICC revenues of $2.7 billion. 

However, with the ICC’s projected revenues coming down, those costs have been adjusted to close to $4.8 million per year.

ESPNcricinfo reported in January this year the ACB received about $2.4 million as part of the ICC’s distribution money. 

However, the ACB has been reeling financially after one of its major team sponsors pulled out in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Consequently, the ACB cut salaries of its entire coaching staff since May, ESPNcricinfo stated.

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Renegades signs Afghan teenager for Australia’s Big Bash League

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

Australia’s Melbourne Renegades have signed up 15-year-old Noor Ahmad after a 12-month scouting mission and plan to unleash him on the Big Bash League later this year. 

Earlier this week Renegades confirmed Mohammad Nabi had also signed up and on Thursday, the club announced on its website, 15-year-old Noor Ahmad, from Kabul, will also join their team. 

“We’ve been tracking Noor Ahmad closely for more than a year now and although he’s in the early stages of his career, he’s an exciting prospect and he has a few tricks that’ll make life difficult for batsmen,” Renegades Coach Michael Klinger said. 

Ahmad is a left-arm wrist-spinner who has earned high praise around the globe.

Ahmad earned a contract in the Caribbean Premier League earlier this year and won a T20 trophy under Mohammad Nabi’s captaincy in 2019.

“The Renegades fans and followers of the Big Bash may not know much about Noor at this stage but I can tell you, he is a very exciting talent who I feel has a big future in the game,” Nabi said.

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Khalilzad meets with Taliban’s Baradar, discusses increase in violence

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha on Wednesday night to discuss a range of issues relating to the Afghan peace process, including the high levels of violence. 

In a series of tweets by the Taliban’s Doha spokesman, Mohammad Naeem, Khalilzad was accompanied by US Forces Afghanistan commander General Scott Miller.

Naeem said the discussion centered around a number of issues and talks were held on the full “implementation of the whole articles of the agreement signed between the IEA [Taliban] and the US”.

He also said the release of remaining prisoners was discussed as was removing names of Taliban members from the US’ blacklist. 

According to him, the increase in hostilities was discussed and attributed the high levels of violence to a number of factors. He said the “humiliation of the martyrs’ bodies” was one reason, as was that of raids carried out against released prisoners and “their killing”. 

He also said, “offensives and the violation of the agreement overall were reckoned the causes that don’t lead the circumstances to a good direction.”

Khalilzad returned to Doha earlier this week to meet with negotiating teams in Doha to press both sides to immediately reduce the levels of violence that Afghan civilians are forced to bear. 

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the US State Department: “Too many Afghans are dying. The sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.” 

“Along with international partners, Ambassador Khalilzad will press the two negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap that ends Afghanistan’s 40-year-long war. The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations. American and international assistance remains available to all sides,” the statement read. 

Khalilzad meanwhile said in a series of tweets on Tuesday night that he returns “to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened.”

“The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said.

“Intransigence and a refusal to abandon animosity, embrace fellow citizens, and agree on a formula for political cooperation/competition underpin the ongoing war.”

Khalilzad said: “Afghans are dying at a high rate, and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives.  Bloodshed must end.

“Afghans need to pivot to development instead of destruction, stability instead of chaos, forgiveness instead of vengeance, compromise instead of inflexibility,” he said.

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Bajwa warns Pakistan and Afghanistan ‘can’t afford chaos’

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Wednesday that Afghanistan and Pakistan could not afford the risk of lawlessness and chaos as such a situation would have catastrophic consequences for both countries.

Speaking during his visit to a hospital in Peshawar to visit victims of Tuesday’s bombing at a madrassa that killed at least seven people, including children, and wounded more than 100, Bajwa said that Afghan refugees in Pakistan should exercise caution about unfavorable elements so that they were not wittingly or unwittingly used in terrorist activities, Dawn News reported. 

He said Pakistan has always wanted peace in Afghanistan and would spare no effort to restore peace and stability in the country.

Bajwa also said Pakistan and Afghanistan had faced terrorism for the past two decades but that peace in both countries was intertwined.

Tuesday’s explosion happened as a prominent religious scholar was giving a special class about the teachings of Islam at the main hall of the Jamia Zubairia madrassa, police confirmed. 

Some Afghan students studying at the seminary were also among the wounded persons, officials said.

 

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