The ICC working group is to oversee Afghan cricket as two factions make demands


Imran Khwaja leads a working group to review the status of cricket in Afghanistan

Imran Khwaja leads a working group to review the status of cricket in Afghanistan © Getty

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is fast becoming a headache for members of the International Cricket Council (ICC). While women’s cricket in the country has always been a concern, there are now also problems with administrative setup. If the ICC announced the appointment of a working group to review the status of the ACB, it was not without an urgent reason. At the ICC’s board meeting on November 16, representatives from two factions landed in Dubai.

The ICC Board immediately formed a panel with Vice-President Imran Khwaja as leader and Ross McCollum (Ireland), Lawson Naidoo (South Africa) and Ramiz Raja (Pakistan) as members and asked them to report back in the coming months. Prior to that, the ICC Board recognized both groups. For the sake of good order, on the ICC’s website, there is no mention of a director from ACB – it says TBC (To be confirmed).

A group is led by Azizullah Fazli, who was appointed chairman of the ACB immediately after the Taliban took over the country in August. He was accompanied by former chief executive Shafiqullah Stanikzai, who was top executive when Afghanistan became a full member of the ICC in 2017. Another group is led by Mirwais Ashraf, a former Afghanistan cricketer who was ‘recently appointed’ chairman of the board. Naseeb Khan is the CEO under him.

“Mr. Mirwais Ashraf has been formally appointed acting chairman of the ACB by the country’s prime minister and chief protector of the ACB. When he returns to the country, the board members of the ACB will at their next general meeting. Elect him through a transparent voting process,” ACB’s media chief told Cricbuzz and added: “Since Mr Mirwais Ashraf and Mr Naseeb Khan are the formal representatives of the ACB and are known as the Chairman and CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board respectively.”

Asked why the group has not yet been recognized, he said: “The ICC wants the President to complete all the relevant and formal processes and they will complete the stages after they return to Afghanistan.”

Fazli said the ACB will resolve the matter internally. “This is our internal problem in the country and will be resolved soon. And we want the ICC to support our cricket. We will continue our cricket based on the Constitution of Afghanistan Cricket Board and the ICC Constitution,” he told Cricbuzz.

An insider in Afghanistan’s cricket provided a perspective. “There are certain problems at ACB with the appointment of management and its compliance with the Constitution. The selection of leaders (acting chairman and acting CEO) at ACB is against its constitution; therefore, the ICC has disagreed with the procedure and formed a working group to assess, analyze and discuss the case and other relevant issues and report them to the ICC. ”

The ICC would not go further than the statement issued after the board meeting, but insiders say the ACB members need to put their action together. ICC Chairman Greg Barclay said: “The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men’s and women’s cricket going forward. We believe the most effective way for this to happen is to support our member in its efforts to achieve this, through its relationship with the new government. ”

© Cricbuzz

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