Afghanistan cricket chief outlines plans to "play regular series" in England

Hamid Shinwari, chief executive of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), has revealed that they are hoping to reach an agreement with the ECB to "play regular series" in England.

Afghanistan predominantly play their home games in the United Arab Emirates and India but Shinwari is hopeful they will be able to stage matches against neutral opponents in England, where there is a big Afghan community.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Shinwari said: "We plan on visiting the UK next year and hopefully sign an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Afghanistan to play regular series with an international team [in England].

"This would give us a big boost and support the youth of Afghanistan."

However, England 's support will surely be dependent on the future of women's cricket in Afghanistan, with concerns that the new Taliban government will prevent them from playing the sport.

The deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, recently told SBS Radio Pashto that "it is not necessary" for women to play cricket.

Wasiq's comments prompted Cricket Australia to threaten to cancel their upcoming Test against Afghanistan if "women's cricket will not be supported".

However, Shinwari insists that the ACB "want to build girls cricket" and that "they can play as long as our cultural requirements are met".

He said: "There were comments made about women not playing cricket but they have since been clarified.

"Our women players are still here – they have not left Afghanistan, most are in Kabul or the other provinces.

"We want to build girls cricket, we are committed to building facilities, so they can play as long as our cultural requirements are met."

When asked what those "cultural requirements are", Shinwari explained: "The girls will play with permission of their guardians, for example."

Even if the ECB are satisfied with Afghanistan's commitment to women's cricket, they would still need to seek government approval over any plans to stage their games in England.

Back in 2008, the ECB cut ties with Zimbabwe after advice from the government and they have not played a bilateral series against them since.

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