Afghan squad off to Maldives for SAARC Twenty20 Cup
KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan's under-25 cricket team on Saturday left for the Maldives to take part a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation cricket tournament, scheduled to be held from October 30 to November 8.
The SAARC Twenty20 Cup draw was held in Male at a ceremony attended by President Mohammad Nasheed, senior government, cricket board officials, players and representatives of foreign missions.
President Nasheed said the SAARC Under-25 Cricket Tournament would showcase the brightest young talent of South Asian cricket and commended the hard work done by the authorities to make the event a success.
The Afghan side would participate in the event along with the three Asian cricket powers -- India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and the hosts are also taking part, said a spokesman for the Afghanistan Cricket Board.
Nasrullah Wafa told Pajhwok Afghan News the teams had been divided into two groups. Afghanistan is placed in Group A with Bangladesh, the Maldives and Bhutan. The Group B is comprised of Pakistan, India, Sari Lanka and Nepal.
Afghanistan had already got two points after Bangladesh decided against taking part in the Twenty20 Cup, he said. The national side will take on the Maldives in the opener on November 3 and play their second match against Bhutan on November 3.
Before their departure, Captain Hameed Hassan said the side had the best players who had gone through tough training. Shahzad Mohammadi has been appointed as vice-captain.
The side includes Hameed Hassan, Nasir Jamal Ahmadzai, Najeeb Tarakai, Javed Ahmadi, Najib Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Shahzad Mohammadi, Nawab Khan, Daulat Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Rokhan, Amir Mangal and Fazlur Rahman Zazai.
The cup is a sideline activity of the SAARC Summit, which is scheduled to take place from October 30 to November 8. The tournament will be played at the purpose-built stadium on the beautiful island of Fuvahmulah in Addu Atoll.
All heads of SAARC member states, including President Karzai, will be watching players from the sideline.