Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - ICC working group to oversee Afghan cricket as two factions make claim. Imran Khwaja heads a Working Group to review the status of cricket in Afghanistan
Imran Khwaja heads a Working Group to review the status of cricket in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is fast becoming a headache for the members of the International Cricket Council (ICC). While women's cricket in the country has always been a concern, there are now issues over administrative setup too. If the ICC announced the appointment of a Working Group to review the status of the ACB, it was not without a pressing reason. For the November 16 meeting of the ICC Board, representatives from two factions landed up in Dubai.
The ICC Board immediately formed a panel, with deputy chairman Imran Khwaja as head and Ross McCollum (Ireland), Lawson Naidoo (South Africa) and Ramiz Raja (Pakistan) as members and asked them to report back over the coming months. Before that the ICC board did recognise either group. For the record, on the ICC website, there is no mention of a director from the ACB – it says TBC (To be confirmed).
One group is headed by Azizullah Fazli, who was appointed chairman of the ACB immediately after the Taliban takeover of the country in August. He was accompanied by former CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai, who was the chief executive when Afghanistan was granted full membership of the ICC in 2017. Another group is headed by Mirwais Ashraf, a former Afghanistan cricketer, who was ‘recently appointed' chairman of the board. Naseeb Khan is the CEO under him.
“Mr. Mirwais Ashraf is formally appointed as the Acting Chairman of the ACB by the Prime Minister of the country and chief patron of the ACB. When he returns to the country, the board members of the ACB, in their coming general meeting, will elect him through a transparent voting process,” ACB's media manager told Cricbuzz adding, “As Mr. Mirwais Ashraf and Mr. Naseeb Khan are the formal representatives of the ACB and are known as the Chairman and CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board respectively.”
Asked why the group has not yet been recognised, he said, “ICC want the chairman to complete all the relevant and formal process and they will complete the stages after they return to Afghanistan.”
Fazli said the ACB will resolve the matter internally. “This is our internal issue of the country and will be solved soon. And we want the ICC to support our cricket. We will continue our cricket based on Afghanistan cricket board constitution and the ICC constitution,” he told Cricbuzz.
An Afghanistan cricket insider provided a perspective. “There are certain issues at the ACB in the appointment of the leadership and its compliance with the constitution. The leadership personnel (Acting Chairman and Acting CEO) selection at the ACB is against its constitution; therefore, the ICC has shown disagreement with the procedure and formed a working group to assess, analyse and discuss the case and other relevant issues and report them to the ICC.”
The ICC would not go beyond the statement issued after the Board meeting but insiders say the ACB members have to put their act together. ICC chair Greg Barclay said: “The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men's and women's cricket moving forward. We believe the most effective way for this to happen will be to support our Member in its efforts to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”