Afghanistan’s stand-in captain Mohammad Nabi has said that his team had reservations about visiting Karachi for the National Twenty20 Cup but security assurances by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) convinced them to go ahead with the tour.
The Afghanistan team, that returned home without any points after losing all three group matches, were provided a more secure accommodation compared to other participants as well as a security protocol to and from the stadium.
Meanwhile, Nabi rued the absence of several first-team players after his side’s winless campaign.
“We were missing five key players who are currently playing in the UAE, preparing for our Intercontinental Cup,” Nabi told The Express Tribune prior to the team’s departure from Karachi. “In a way, it’s puzzling why we have half our players here and half there since the other tournament is more important for us than this. However, this Twenty20 Cup gave our youngsters a lot of experience and if we had our full-strength squad, we’d be one of the semi-finalists.”
Afghanistan played in Pakistan’s Grade II cricket in 2003 as it gave its cricketers an opportunity to get onto the cricket field and learn. The team also toured Pakistan for a three-match series earlier this year and despite the lack of success so far, Nabi confirmed that they will be back for the next tournament.
“We wanted to be part of Pakistan’s first-class structure but financially it wasn’t working out for the PCB. However, we’re hopeful we can be part of the limited-overs tournaments, including the next Twenty20 event as we also enjoy huge following in the country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.
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