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    All provinces to have cricket grounds: minister

    KABUL(PAN): Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal has said the government was planning to construct standard cricket grounds in all provinces in next two years.

    Speaking at a prize distribution ceremony to the winner and runner-up teams in the inter-provincial cricket tournament that concluded on Sunday, Zakhilwal said an amount of $1.1 million provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) would be spent on building new cricket grounds.

    The Nangarhar Club was crowned the inter-provincial cricket champions after they romped to a huge margin victory over Logar at the Youth Stadium in Kabul.

    The tournament that launched two weeks ago featured 24 provincial clubs, with participating teams divided into eight groups, containing three squads each.

    The finance minister, who distributed prizes to the winner and runner-up teams, said the existing Kabul cricket ground would be expanded to have the capacity for 6,000 spectators. He said a new office for the cricket board would also be built at the stadium.

    Zakhilwal praised a trader in Jalalabad who had allocated his 17. 5 acres land for a cricket ground and had promised to pay half of the expenses on the construction of the ground.

    The minister said cricket grounds would be built in 10 provinces during next one year and in all provinces where cricket was played in the coming two years.

    Afghanistan's Cricket Board Executive Director, Dr. Hamid Shinwari, said they had three major achievements from the inter-provincial cricket contest. He added 90 best players were selected from participating teams. The players divided into A and B teams would be added to the national team if needed.

    He said they earned $10,000 by selling tickets for the interprovincial contest.

    Kabulmayor, Eng. Yosuf Nawandesh, said they had specified an area in Bagh-e-Qazi area for a cricket ground.

    Owner of the Shamshad television, Haji Fazl Karim, said the interprovincial cricket match was broadcasted live. He said they would broadcasts cricket matches played outside Afghanistan involving the national team in future as well.

    The interprovincial contest was co-sponsored by the Etisalat Mobile Communication Company, Supreme Logistic Company and Cristal Mineral Water Company.

    am/ma