The United Arab Emirates will host Afghanistan for three T20Is in Abu Dhabi from February 16 as part of the agreement signed by the two cricket boards last November.
According to the agreement, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) agreed to provide the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) with logistical and infrastructure support for the next five years and to host their home matches. In addition, Afghanistan committed to playing UAE in a three-match T20I series annually until the deal expires.
The ACB said in a statement on Saturday night that the “Afghanistan Cricket Board and the Emirates Cricket Board today confirmed that the three-match T20I series between both countries will be held at Zayed Cricket Stadium on the 16th, 18th, and 19th of February 2023”.
The ACB said it has selected a preliminary list of 22 players for the preparation camp in the UAE and the squad will depart next week for Abu Dhabi.
The 22-member squad includes Rashid Khan (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Abdul Rahman Rahmani, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai, Bilal Sami, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Gulbadin Naib, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Nangyal Kharoti, Naveen Ul Haq, Nijat Masoud, Noor Ahmad, Rahmat Shah, Sediqullah Atal, Shahidullah Kamal, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Zahir Khan.
The final 15-17 member team that will be selected for the T20I series, might also feature new players as part of the ACB’s long-term plans for future T20I events, the statement read.
“We are honored to be part of this partnership and are pleased with the results of our recent talks and negotiations with the Emirates Cricket Board,” said Naseeb Khan, the CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board. “Playing this T20I series is the first step in our long-term commitment and we are looking forward to a continued relationship with ECB,” he added.
“Emirates Cricket are looking forward to welcoming players and staff from Afghanistan Cricket as we embark on this journey and collaboration with them,” Mubashshir Usmani, Emirates Cricket Board General Secretary said.
“We anticipate three very competitive, highly entertaining T20I matches,” he added.
This will be Afghanistan’s first international series for this year and is seen as crucial preparation for a busy upcoming season, which includes several bilateral commitments and major events such as the ACC Asia Cup in September and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in October.