With T20 becoming more and more with each passing day, all the cricket playing nations have started conducting their domestic T20 tournaments. The latest country to launch their very own franchise based T20 League is none other than Afghanistan. The inaugural edition of the Afghanistan Premier League is scheduled to be held in UAE in October. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India in all likelihood will maintain their stance of not allowing Indian players to be part of any domestic T20 tournaments barring the IPL.

As per reports, it has been learned that around 40 overseas players have shown interest to be part of this league. The tournament will be held in Sharjah from 5th to 24th October. The top officials from Afghanistan want to at least allow the non-contracted players to take part in the League. However, BCCI won’t make any exceptions for one particular private league. No Indian players have ever played in a domestic T20 tournament outside India.

CEO of ACB Shafiqullah Stanikzai said that he at least wants the non-contracted Indian players to be part of the tournament. However, he is aware of the fact that the chances look really bleak. “I am not talking about the current Indian cricketers here but it will be great if the other Indian players can come and play in our league,” Stanikzai said.

“I will speak to the BCCI officials on the subject but honestly it looks tough at the moment,” he further added. Meanwhile, it must be noted that India has played a major role in the rapid growth of Afghanistan cricket. The Afghan national team trains in India for a majority of the time and has their home grounds based in Greater Noida and now in Dehradun. They will also meet India in their inaugural Test match in Bengaluru.

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Afghanistan
Afghanistan in team huddle. Credits: Getty Images)

“India has always lent a helping hand to its friend Afghanistan and will continue to do so. The ACB officials have not so far come to us on the participation of our players in their league. Honestly speaking, it will be tough to allow the players at this stage. If we allow one, we have to give clearance to everyone,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by the PTI

Last year BCCI had issued a NOC to Yusuf Pathan to play in a Hong Kong League last year. However, he was barred from playing the tournament later as the NOC was revoked. While speaking about the inaugural edition of APL, the CEO said that it will be a 5 team league to start off with and will comprise of 24 matches in home away formats.

“And most probably we will have a draft system to pick the players, not the auction. The interest from investors have been encouraging so far and there are some Indian franchisees too who have shown interest,” said the CEO.

Before this tournament, ACB has already organized Shpageeza Cricket League. However, it doesn’t have any foreign cricketers which haven’t given the tournament much popularity.

APL will aim at helping Afghanistan players rub shoulders with some of the best

“With the APL, we aim to give exposure to our players to rub shoulders against the best in the world. It will also help the economy of our cricket. We see APL becoming one of the top-three leagues in the world,” Stanikzai said. He also stated that the League will help in the growth of the game in the country.

“The league will help us produce more world-class players and at a much faster pace as compared to now,” he said.

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Mujeeb Zadran is known for his guile. Photo Credit: Getty Images.