Afghanistan will showcase rising standards of the game when the country’s fledgling national team take on top-ranked Australia for the first time in a one-day international on August 25 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Being held under the auspices of the Emirates Cricket Board, the match will be the 205th to be hosted by Sharjah Cricket Club at the historic venue which has already entered Guinness World Records for staging the maximum number of ODI games.
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium has been the home ground for the Afghanistan national team for ODIs and first-class matches for the past four year, and the staging of this new match is a reflection on the Emirates Cricket Board’s drive to help develop cricket in South Asia’s new cricket power.
“Afghanistan has a national team that is definitely on the rise and we can put our hand out. I think it’s the responsibility of every cricket-loving country to develop the game and to reach out to a country in need,” said Waleed Bukhatir, vice-chairman of the Sharjah Cricket Club.
“We will continue to support cricket in Afghanistan and hope their matches against top teams in the world will go a long way in honing the competitive edge of a team which has unified the nation in unprecedented fashion,” he added.
“We are grateful to Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, chairman of ECB, for all his initiatives in supporting cricket. Today, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium is a household name and we do expect to host more such international games in the near future.
The ICC Development Programme and Cricket Australia, he said, deserved to be applauded for strongly supporting emerging associate member countries in developing their skills.
“Everyone in world cricket is really impressed with how cricket has flourished in Afghnistan despite its pressing national problems,” commented James Sutherland, chief executive of Cricket Australia.
“We strongly support world cricket’s ambition to continue to develop the game as a global sport and that, combined with the strong relationships between our two countries, encouraged us to look at how we might recognise and encourage Afghanistan by playing them on field,” he added.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Hamid Shinwari, thanked Abdulrahman Bukhatir, the founder of cricket in UAE for providing Sharjah Cricket stadium as their Home Venue.
He also thanked Cricket Australia for their willingness to encourage cricket in Afghanistan, saying: “As one of the new cricketing nations, we are grateful for the opportunity to play against one of cricket’s first and greatest nations.
“The value of the match in terms of increased experience as well as confidence and skill building will be immeasurable.
“Our players and supporters greatly admire and love cricketers from Australia and the opportunity to play them has created widespread interest and excitement.”