Former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan has slammed Australia’s Test skipper Tim Paine for his comments on boycotting the matches against the Afghanistan team in the men’s T20 World Cup starting from October 17 in the UAE. Afghan’s post comes after Paine said on his morning breakfast show on SEN Hobart that a boycott of matches against Afghanistan in the mega event is “something that teams will discuss on the eve of that World Cup”.

“How a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see,” Paine had said on Friday. Afghanistan has been in a state of turmoil since the Taliban took over the country. There has been no clarity on the future of women’s cricket in the country despite acting chairman of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Azizullah Fazli saying to SBS Pashto that decision on wom’n’s cricket in the country will be made soon.

“Mr. Paine! The Afghan National Cricket Team has the right to play not only in this World Cup but in all ICC organized tournaments/events in accordance with the rules and regulations of ICC, a’d I’m sure that our brave National Heroes will perform their best in it and showcase their elite Talents Inshallah,” wrote Afghan in his Facebook post late on Saturday.

The 33-year-old told Paine to not make statements that would lead to Afghanistan cricket being isolated. “As a sportsperson and professional cricketer, you know that it requires too much of hard work and dedication to reach this level of cricket. For a less privileged cricketing Nation as Afghanistan with zero infrastructure and support reaching where we are right now and playing shoulder to shoulder with top 10 countries require sheer determination, passion, and talent. Therefore, you should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan Cr”cket.”

“Cricket is now the No#1 Sport in Afghanistan and is being followed by nearly 30 million Afghans. This shows, either you are unaware of the circumstances or talking out of contradiction; in any case, you are mistreating Afghan Cricket and all the gains we have obtained with hardship in the past decade. (Sports should be separated from politics),” concluded Afghan.

Afghan is a part of A’ghanistan’s squad for the men’s T20 World Cup. They open their campaign against a qualifier team from Round 1 on October 25 in Sharjah. Afghanistan are in Group 2 alongside two yet-to-be-known qualifiers, 2007 champions India, 2009 champions Pakistan and New Zealand.

–IANS

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