Afghanistan-Pakistan ODI series postponed indefinitely

Afghanistan’s 3-match ODI series against their neighbors Pakistan has been postponed indefinitely, quite possibly to 2022. After the talks between the PCB and ACB, it was concluded that it won’t be possible for the Afghanistan team to travel to Sri Lanka.

The Afghan team has to travel to Pakistan on-road as flights from Kabul are closed and then have to reach Sri Lanka via Dubai. Also, the Sri Lankan government has announced a 10-day lockdown in their country due to the rise in Covid cases there. This had brought up logistical challenges for them.

There were also talks between the 2 boards to move the series to Pakistan which was confirmed by ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari to ESPNCricinfo. But the prevalent situation in Afghanistan has left the players, not in good mental space. So the series had to be postponed.

Until this evening we had principally agreed to play the series in Pakistan and we are thankful to Pakistan for all the support they offered. But then considering all the situations, especially our players’ mental readiness, we found that that they are not prepared. We needed a camp and we needed time for them to acclimatise to the weather and conditions,” the ACB CEO said.
But with all the delay in making efforts to play in Sri Lanka, we have lost enough time and now making a trip to Pakistan without preparation in such a short time isn’t working for our players. Pakistan is a good team and playing them at home you need to be fully prepared which, unfortunately, we are not so we have decided to postpone it indefinitely,” Hamid Shinwari said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, both in a media release and through a tweet confirmed the same.

The ACB had contacted the PCB on Monday evening, requesting to postpone the series for 2022 citing disruption of flight operations in Kabul, increased Covid-19 cases in Sri Lanka, mental health of their players and non-availability of broadcast equipment,” PCB said in a release.

We have worked very closely with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to make this series happen and were keen to play them in the inaugural bilateral series, but we understand their challenges and have, therefore, agreed to reschedule the series for 2022. The PCB historically enjoys an excellent relationship with the ACB and will do everything to ensure the series is played in 2022 as it is critical for both the sides in terms of direct qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023,” PCB Director Zakir Khan said.

 This would have been the first-ever bilateral series between the 2 countries in international cricket. While they have faced each other in ICC and multi-national tournaments a few times, a full-fledged series never happened. However, it didn’t materialize but we can hope to see the teams play each next year.

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