Afghan pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq has revealed that his teammates are uncertain about their future following the Taliban’s takeover of the country’s capital, Kabul, a few days ago. Although it has been stated repeatedly that cricket in the country won’t take a hit, the players don’t feel assured about the same.
Recently, the Afghan national team started preparing for their next tour in Kabul, just a few miles away from the international airport where tens of thousands of people are trying to evacuate the country. Even the players are very afraid, as explained by Naveen-ul-Haq.
“The Taliban have said (they) won’t be troubling any sportsman, but nobody knows. 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,” Naveen told the BBC.
Earlier, even Mohammad Nabi had tweeted hoping for support from the outside world. The country’s state of affairs is in turmoil and nothing the Taliban does can assure the citizens to let go of their fears.
“I appeal to the leaders of the world; please don’t let Afghanistan go into chaos. We need your support. We want peace,” Nabi had said a few days prior to the Taliban takeover.
“I can’t say that I will be fully focused on playing cricket” – Naveen-ul-Haq on Afghanistan’s situation
Although Naveen is currently outside Afghanistan playing in the Caribbean Premier League, the deteriorating situation at home doesn’t allow him to focus on the sport. The players will continue to fear for the safety of their loved ones, and Naveen is no different.
“You forget about it for a minute or two to focus on cricket but it jumps into your mind again. I can’t say that I will be fully focused on playing only cricket because you can’t when you see your country like that,” he said.
The CEO of ACB, Hamid Shinwari had also tried to assure the players that the Taliban won’t interfere in the cricketing matters. As a result, their series against Pakistan to be held in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, is scheduled to go ahead as planned for now.