ICC decision a blow to cricket in Afghanistan: ACB
KABUL (PAN): The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Wednesday said it was disappointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) decision to cut the number of teams in the 2015 World Cup to 10, calling the move a tragedy for cricket in the country.
The ICC recently slashed the number of teams in the 2015 World Cup from 14 to 10, dealing a blow to nations such as Ireland, Holland and Canada, which would not have any chance to qualify for the event. A qualification process will, however, be set in motion for the 2019 edition.
"It's a tragedy for cricket in Afghanistan," Nasimullah Danish, the ACB chief executive officer, said in a statement. "Afghanistan's remarkable rise to the elite level has captured the imagination of the world…"
He said: "We have seen what the game of cricket can do for a country in building national unity and peace, as well as helping Afghanistan rejoin the international community."
Cricket is played in Afghanistan on bumpy, dusty, uneven pitches, with players using used bricks for wickets, cracked bats and tennis balls.
"The ICC needs to recognise that cricket has become more than just a game in Afghanistan in recent years," Danish stressed. "It has been a means of feeling proud and Afghans knowing that they can compete at the international level and can win. Our cricket players are not just good sportsmen, but they are our national heroes."
The ACB believed in the "spirit of cricket" and its values of respect, fair play and equal opportunity, he said, regretting the ICC decision had barred Afghanistan and other countries from participation in the World Cup.
The ICC decision excludes 95 of the 105 cricketing countries from the World Cup in 2015. "This means that more than 90 percent of the world's cricketing nations are excluded from the cup."
He said it was time for the ICC to see cricket as more than a game and a moneymaking tool for big countries, He urged the council to use cricket's potential for building peace and promoting development worldwide."
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