Afghan cricket team leaving for England tomorrow
KABUL (Pajhwok): The national cricket team is scheduled to leave for England tomorrow (Friday) two weeks ahead of their participation in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup qualifier to be played in Ireland and Scotland.
Speaking at a press conference here, Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Danish said world’s 14 best teams were participating in the event to be staged across eight Ireland and Scotland venues from July 9 to 26.
He said the participating teams had been divided into two groups and three teams from each group would make their way to the T20 World Cup to be played in India next year.
Danish said the Afghan team had gone through tough training sessions at home and they were leaving for England well-prepared.
The ACB chief said Afghanistan would not only try to book a berth in the World Cup in India but would also try to win the qualifier.
He said the national side was leaving for England two weeks ahead of the event in order to play friendly matches with local clubs and undergo further training.
Afghanistan’s skipper Asghar Stanikzai said they had been preparing for the tournament for the last few weeks. He said Afghanistan had been placed with strong teams in the group, but they had selected best players.
Chief coach Ander Moles assured the Afghan side was fully prepared and would give tough time to the rivals.
ACB spokesman Farid Hotak told Pajhwok Afghan News Afghanistan were placed in the Group B with the United Arab Emirates, Holland, Scotland, Canada, Kenya and Oman.
The Group A includes Ireland, Nepal, Hong Kong, PNG, Namibia, USA and Jersey.
The Afghanistan team is: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Javed Ahmadi, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi Issakhel, Samiullah Shinwari, Shahzad Mohammadi, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Najib Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Shahpur Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Sharfuddin Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam and Mirwais Ashraf.
Standby players include Karim Sadiq, Farid Malak and Osman Ghani.
The top six sides from the 18-day tournament during which 51 matches will be played will join the 10 Full Members for the ICC World Twenty20 in India, which will be held from March 11 to April 3, 2016.
In the July tournament, Ireland will also aim to complete a hat-trick of titles after it won the March 2012 and November 2013 qualifiers, both times defeating Afghanistan in the final.
Afghanistan had taken the top honours in the February 2010 tournament, while Ireland and Netherlands shared the trophy in August 2009 in Belfast after the final was washed-out.
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