Both Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi are two of the biggest stars in world cricket and they have been playing their parts in the Indian Premier League (IPL), winning hearts and showing their proverbial Afghani fighting spirit. But as the world's premier T20 cricket league gets ready for the UAE leg of the COVID-affected 2021 edition, uncertainty emerges about their future. (More Cricket News)
The fall of Kabul to the Taliban has put the dreams and aspirations of every Afghanistani in jeopardy. Sadly for the adventure-loving Afghanis, the Taliban are not the best custodians of sports. Now, with the political situation taking a new turn in Afghanistan, an uncertain future is waiting for their top cricketers too.
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The Taliban took over the reins of the South Asian country as President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan.
Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi, who are in the United Kingdom competing in the 'Hundred' tournament for Trent Rockets and London Spirits respectively, are due to compete in the remainder of the IPL in the UAE from September 19. Though they are currently not in Afghanistan, the turn of events has deeply affected them. Both Rashid and Nabi play for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The T20 World Cup will be held soon after the conclusion of IPL 2021.
Meanwhile, three Afghanistan players have been named in the reshuffled squad lists for the upcoming CPL season -- the Jamaica Tallawahs' Qais Ahmad and the Guyana Amazon Warriors pair of Naveen-ul-Haq and Waqar Salamkheil.
But Ibrahim Zadran and Shafiqullah Ghafari, who had originally been drafted by the Tallawahs and the Barbados Royals respectively in May, were not part of the final squads.
Earlier, they had urged the world leaders to intervene as Afghanistan faces its worst socio-political crisis in the last two decades.
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"Dear World Leaders! My country is in chaos, thousand of innocent people, including children & women, get martyred everyday, houses & properties being destructed. Thousands of families displaced. Don't leave us in chaos. Stop killing Afghans & destroying of Afghanistan. We want peace," Rashid had tweeted a few days back.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) is reportedly keeping an eye on the developments and is hoping to see the participation of Afghan players in the IPL.
"It is too early to comment but we are keeping a watch. For us, nothing changes and we expect Rashid and other Afghan players would be part of IPL," a BCCI source told PTI.
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Rashid, Nabi and Mujeeb Zadran are some of the Afghanistan players who are regular features in IPL teams. Rashid is one of the most sought-after T20 freelancers in world cricket currently.
It remains to be seen if Rashid and Nabi stay back in the UK after completion of 'The Hundred' on August 21 as they have families back home.
And if they stay back in the UK, it will be interesting to see if the BCCI asks them to be on the same charter flight that will take the Indian players to the UAE from Manchester on September 15.
The BCCI is expected to speak with the Afghanistan Cricket Board on the situation.
As per ICC's FTP schedule, Afghanistan are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka for six white-ball games this month but the final schedule is still not out yet.
Rashid is Afghanistan's T20 captain.