The move is the second major change in the game’s national governing body since the Taliban took control of the country last month.
Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers have fired Hamid Shinwari, the executive director of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), and replaced him with Naseeb Khan in the second major change in the game’s supreme governing body since the group seized power last month.
The Taliban appointed a new government this month after an astonishing military review of the country triggered the collapse of the Western-backed government. The Taliban attack came as US-led foreign forces were nearing the end of their withdrawal after 20 years of war.
Shinwari confirmed in a text message to the news agency Reuters that he had been fired from his position. The ACB announced Khan as Shinwaris’ replacement in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
Naseeb Khan, has been introduced as the new CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), by the chairman of the board Mr. @AzizullahFazli. He has a master’s degree and also has knowledge of cricket. pic.twitter.com/07qDH1hQjW
– Afghanistan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) September 20, 2021
The ACB last month appointed Azizullah Fazli as its chairman in what was the board’s first major appointment since the Taliban took power. Fazli had previously served as chairman between 2018 and 2019.
Earlier this month, Shinwari urged other national teams not to shy away from the country over its new ruler’s proposal that it could ban women from the sport.
This came after the Australian Cricket Board said it would scrap a planned test match against the Afghan men’s team if the Taliban did not allow women to play the sport.
The Afghan women’s squad was disbanded due to security concerns a few years after it was formed in 2010, but ACB revived the team last year and gave contracts to 25 players.
The Taliban says it has changed since its 1996-2001 rule, as it prevented women from leaving home without a male relative and closed schools to girls, but it aroused skepticism when it said last week it would open schools for boys of high school age but not girls.
On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid assured that colleges will be opened “as soon as possible”. He said a “safe learning environment” is needed before older girls can fully return to school.
Cricket was first played in Afghanistan by British troops in the 19th century, but it took root in the 1990s, after Afghans who had learned the game in refugee camps in Pakistan returned home.
It was originally banned by the Taliban during their rule in 1996-2001, but later allowed and has since become hugely popular.
ACB joined the International Cricket Council in 2001 as an associate member, and achieved full membership in 2017.