Amid political turmoil in the country, Afghanistan cricketers have begun their training at the Kabul international cricket stadium. However, fear and distress are bothering many of the players, due to the recent takeover of the country by Taliban forces. A few weeks ago, Taliban Islamists took over the nation’s capital city Kabul, forcing the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee from the country.
Taliban forces, who were fighting a long battle with US and Afghanistan Army for the last 20 years, managed to overtake the country after the United States withdrew its forces from the Asian nation. Although many Afghan players are back to practice at Kabul international stadium, they are in fear and distress over the future of their people and cricket in the country under Taliban rule.
Distress Mounts Among Afghanistan Cricketers Amid Taliban Takeover
Afghan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, who is currently in West Indies for the upcoming Caribbean Premier League 2021, spoke to BBC over the situation of his teammates who are facing the situation of Taliban’s rule in the country.
“The fear is there in their eyes, in their voices, even in their messages. The Taliban have said (they) won’t be troubling any sportsmen, but nobody knows,” Naveen-ul-Haq said.
The Afghan player also mentioned that cricket is the only positive thing in the country and it is more than a game for the people of the country.
“If you find positive news, if you see people happy together, it’s only cricket… that brings it to the country. It’s that important to Afghanistan. It’s more than a game for Afghanistan’s people,” he further said.
Due to the Taliban takeover, many foreign nationals, as well as Afghan citizens, are stranded in the country, trying to leave the place as soon as possible. This has also created ruckus and riots at the Kabul International Airport.
Afghan cricket team’s next project is a three-match ODI series against Pakistan. The ODI series will be played in Sri Lanka and hosted by Sri Lanka Cricket. Meanwhile, an official of the Afghanistan Cricket Board announced a few days ago that the Taliban has assured their support for cricket in the country.