Cricket fans blame U-19s poor play on kinship
KABUL (Pajhwok): Cricket lovers blame consecutive defeats by the under-19 Afghan cricket team in the World Cup in Bangladesh on players chosen on the basis of nepotism and kinship by the cricket board.
Afghanistan lost against Pakistan and Sari Lanka, with cricket fans saying many of the players in the under-19 side are relatives of national team’s members and cricket board officials, but the cricket board denies the claim as baseless.
Karim Janat in the under-19 team is Asghar Stanikzai’s brother, Naveed Obaid is the brother of Nasimullah Danish, the cricket board chief executive, Wahidullah Shafaq is the brother of Shafiqullah Shafaq and Zahir Ahmadzai is the nephew of Zahir Ahmadzai, said Zarabullah Shah Zaheer, trainer of the Afghan team and the head of cricket association.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News the under-19 team had been strong earlier but now it was a weak side.
The junior cricket team finished 7th in the 16-nation game last year but this time the team could not stay among the top eight teams, he said.
A cricket lover, Hashim Oryakhel, wrote on his Facebook wall that Taj Maluk Ala is the deputy head of cricket board, his brother Hastigul is in the selection committee, his son is in the under-16 team and his two brothers Aftab Alam and Karim Sadiq are in the national team.
Another Facebook user, Jamal Ahamd, also said that family members of Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Ahmadzai, Raees Ahmadzai and Noor Ali Zadran are in different cricket teams of the country.
However, Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Nasimullah Danish said they did not interfere in the selection of players because there was an independent selection committee responsible for selecting players.
He said it was not only in Afghanistan that relatives of players and board officials were in the national teams, but it was common worldwide.
He said India has more than a billion populations, but there were some players who were brothers in the national team.
He said Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh were brothers in the Australian team, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal and Adnan Akmal were brothers in the Pakistani team, he said as an example.
On Saturday, the Afghanistan-A team defeated Zimbabwe when Nasir Jamal, a brother of Raees Ahmadzai, performed well, Danish said.
Besides other achievements, he said, the under-19 cricket team beat Zimbabwe last month and got the cup.
Danish asked people not to harm cricket for personnel differences with anyone because cricket teams had brought many laurels home.
His family members were selected due to their own talent, the head of the private cricket academy in Jalalabad and former national team player, Hastigul Abid, said.
“There are some other talented players in our family, but we could not promote them due to such criticism,” he said, adding similar examples were available in many teams of the world.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.