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ICC chairman welcomes Afghan female cricket team formation

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(Last Updated On: December 11, 2020)

International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Greg Barkley, met with Afghanistan’s cricket board (ACB) chairman and discussed the Afghan cricket situation, ACB said in a statement on Friday.

During the meeting, Barkley welcomed the formation of the Afghan female national cricket team.

Meanwhile, at the meeting ACB chairman Yusefzai called on the ICC chairman to provide equal financial assistance to Afghanistan as to other permanent members.

The ICC chairman also welcomed the recent efforts for transparency in the ACB and the progress.

Barkley added that the ICC is committed to any kind of cooperation with ACB.

The Afghan women’s cricket team, which was officially relaunched last month, is scheduled to have their first overseas training camp later this month, likely in a Gulf country.

The aim of this is to prepare them for their first international match early next year, Reuters reported.

This comes after the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) recently reformed the women’s squad, and awarded contracts to 25 players following trials at the Kabul Stadium.

While Afghanistan’s men’s cricket team has enjoyed a series of successes over the past few years, the national women’s team was quietly disbanded just a few years after it was formed in 2010, amid fears over safety.

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Afghan MMA star selling prized medals to help Barchi and Logar victims

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(Last Updated On: May 12, 2021)

Afghanistan’s world-class MMA fighter Hussain Bakhsh Safari is selling two of his prized gold medals to raise money for the victims of Saturday’s deadly school bombing in Kabul city and the victims of last month’s guest house bombing in Logar province.

Safari said on Wednesday he is auctioning his medals in Dubai to raise money for the treatment of victims in the two attacks.

The Afghan MMA fighter has been ranked the best in the world by the Ju-Jitsu International Federation in the field of full contact jujitsu for two years in a row.

“I call on national and international businessmen to come and buy these medals so that I can serve my compatriots through the Safari Foundation so that they can be encouraged again and return to their lessons,” Safari said.

He also said that now is not the time for him to showcase his medals.

Saturday’s bombing left 87 people – mostly teenage girls – dead and over 150 wounded after a car bomb, followed by two IEDs, were detonated outside a high school in the Shia community of Dasht-e-Barchi.

The attack sparked an outcry around the world and has caused serious concern among the Hazara minority community in Afghanistan.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Taliban was quick to deny any responsibility.

The Logar bombing happened almost two weeks ago and targeted a guesthouse where many high school students were staying.

At least 30 people were killed in this attack, local officials said, while the ministry of interior’s spokesman Tariq Arian said as many as 90 people were wounded.

No group claimed responsibility for this attack either.

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Japan’s anti-Olympics campaign gains traction as pandemic simmers

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(Last Updated On: May 9, 2021)

More than 230,000 people have signed a Japanese petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled in the two days since it was launched online, as public concerns mount over holding the showpiece event during a pandemic, Reuters reported.

With 11 weeks to go before the start of the Games, already postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus, questions remain over how Tokyo can host the global gathering while keeping volunteers, athletes, officials and the Japanese public safe from COVID-19.

Organised by Kenji Utsunomiya, a lawyer who has run several times for Tokyo governor, the “Stop Tokyo Olympics” petition has gathered more than 230,000 signatures.

“Japanese people tend to not voice our opinions but there are many people now speaking up. Together with voices from overseas, I hope the Olympics will be cancelled for now,” he told Reuters.

Games organisers and the Japanese government have repeatedly said the event needs to go ahead, in part as a symbol of the world’s triumph over the pandemic, and detailed COVID-19 protocols have been unveiled for participants.

But with a fourth wave heaping pressure on Japan’s medical system amid a sluggish vaccination rate, Utsunomiya said he had received a call from an exhausted hospital worker on Friday morning, thanking him for pushing back against the Games, Reuters reported.

Opinion polls have found a majority of the Japanese public is opposed to the Games, which are due to open on July 23 and many in Tokyo were on Friday sceptical about whether they should go ahead, and wary about foreign visitors.

“It’s absurd that we are holding the Olympics under the COVID pandemic,” Katsumi Abiko, the 79-year-old owner of a kimono shop, told Reuters.

“If we make the decision now to cancel it, Japan will be praised for making the right decision and be remembered by history.”

The government has extended a state of emergency in the capital and three other areas until the end of May.

Several other Tokyo residents shared Abiko’s concerns, including 84-year-old Yoshihiro Nagao, though he believes that, on balance, the Olympics should go ahead.

“It’s safer not to do it, but since we’ve come this far, we all want to work hand in hand and succeed,” he said.

In that spirit of cooperation, Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and its German partner BioNTech SE said on Thursday they had agreed to donate their vaccine to inoculate participants.

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Australian cricketers flee India for Maldives after IPL abandoned

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(Last Updated On: May 6, 2021)

Australian cricketers playing in this year’s IPL fled COVID-ravaged India for the Maldives Thursday, but New Zealand’s top stars are stuck in Delhi until May 11, the earliest they can secure exemptions to enter England where they are due to play a Test series.

AFP reports that cricket authorities have been rushing to evacuate players and support staff after the Indian Premier League was abandoned this week.

India reported 3,980 deaths and more than 412,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

While most overseas-based players headed home, the Australians, including Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins, are unable to do so after Canberra closed its borders and threatened anyone entering from India with jail time.

They must wait until at least May 15, when the travel ban will be reviewed.

In the meantime, the 37 players, coaches, officials and TV commentators left for the Maldives, reportedly on a charter flight arranged and paid for by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

“Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association can confirm Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators have been safely transported from India and are en route to the Maldives,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

“The Australians will remain in the Maldives until the conclusion of the travel pause pertaining to flights from India to Australia.”

They are likely to be chartered back to Australia once the ban has been lifted, again with the help of the BCCI.

But Chennai Super Kings batting coach Mike Hussey was not among the travelling party, forced to remain in isolation after testing positive to the virus.

Cricket Australia said he was “experiencing mild symptoms” and would remain in the care of the Super Kings until it was safe for him to return to Australia.

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