Afghan board CEO Shafiq Stanikzai has credited the Indian Premier League for its role in promoting cricket in their country. Stanikzai has also praised the Indian cricket board for their support in the development of cricket in Afghanistan and said that their contribution was bigger than Pakistan's.
Nobody can question the role of the IPL in the world cricket with over 1100 players registering for the 2018 mega-auction. The league has proved to be a showcase event for players who have gone on to perform well on the international stage thereafter. This was the case last year as well when two players from Afghanistan, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, came into the limelight after getting a chance to ply their trade in the biggest league in the world. Rashid who picked up 17 wickets in 14 games for Sunrisers Hyderabad went on to recreate his performances in the BPL and the BBL.
"IPL played a huge role in getting the game popular back home. We don't have just one Rashid Khan, we have so many Rashid Khans in every part of the country," Stanikzai said as quoted by PTI.
The bilateral relations between the two neighbours have historically been very friendly and the BCCI has also been very cordial in their sporting relationship with the nation and allowed the side to use the Greater Noida Stadium for their home matches and practices.
"BCCI's role has really been immense. Since we moved to India the team has done well. The conditions in India are suiting the team quite well. The support we receive from BCCI has been instrumental," Stanikzai said.
In their initial stage of this game, Afghanistan cricket received some support from Pakistan as most of the current generation players started playing their game in the refugee camps of Pakistan. The team had also played their first T20I and ODI games against Pakistan.
"In Pakistan, we trained a lot in initial stages. Their (PCB) support was also tremendous. But since we moved to India, we have achieved big. We were associates and playing in a lower tier when practising in Pakistan. Since we moved to India we are performing well. We have reached a stage where we are playing with the best."
"So, comparatively, it is bigger. Financially it is helping us quite a lot. It is cost effective in comparison to playing in UAE. Conditions wise too it is good. It is easy to convince other boards to come and play in India. So, from a different perspective, it is better to play in India," said the CEO.
India welcomed the news of Afghanistan receiving the Test status as the board offered to host their first-ever Test in Bengaluru from June 14 to 18. Meanwhile, it is also reported that the team is likely to get a second home ground in Dehradun. The CEO also disclosed that they also asked for assistance to support their junior team.
"I have requested the BCCI and they have agreed to support us in junior cricket (U17, emerging and A teams). Integrate education as well with tours. In principle, we are in agreement. We need to work on the composition of the competition," he said.