June 10, 2010 1:43:39 am
Soon after the war-ravaged nation earned ODI status and weeks after their players captured peoples imagination in the World Twenty20,Afghanistans fling with top-flight cricket seems to have come down crashing.
As the big guns return and powerhouses India,Pakistan,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh assemble in Dambulla,Sri Lanka,for the Asia Cup,Afghanistan find themselves in the cold,again solely on logistical and commercial constraints of the organisers.
Ironically,Asia Cup is hosted under the umbrella of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC),which is responsible for development of the game in the continent,and Afghanistans rise to prominence has been one of ACCs success stories. The script seems to be the same till 2014,meaning despite earning ODI status for four years,Afghanistan,which missed qualifying for next years World Cup,is unlikely to get another opportunity to play against a Test-playing nation.
Bangladesh,India,Pakistan and Sri Lanka only had that 10-day window for Asia Cup. Fitting in another team would have meant the tournament wouldnt have been possible this year, ACC media officer Shahriar Khan told The Indian Express. He said 2012 and 2014 also look to have the same packed schedule for the Test-playing nations.
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Among the broadcasters,it seems there is still not the confidence in Afghanistan as a commercial proposition, Khan said. We hope that will change in the coming years and the next cycle of Asia Cup rights will include Afghanistan,if they retain the ODI status by then and qualify for the 2015 World Cup. There is a 10-day rest period after the Asia Cup and before the Test series between India and Sri Lanka begins. Pakistans first tour game on the England tour is also just a week after the June 24 final.
The ICC refused to comment but an official spelled out the countrys next cricket assignment: Asia Cup comes under the ACCs purview and ICC has no role to play there. Afghanistan will play in the ICC World Cricket League Division-I with six teams in Holland from July 1 to 11.
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