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A three-match Pak v Afg T20I series has been given a go by the mutual decision of the Pakistan Cricket Board and Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). Rumours of an ODI series were doing the rounds on social media but the official announcement has it that the 50-over format series has been changed to a 20-over one and the matches will probably take place in late March this year.
Pak v Afg T20I series: Where and When
The Pak v Afg T20I series will take place late in March after the end of Pakistan Super League (PSL) edition 8. It will take place between March 20 and 28 in Sharjah. The decision to change the format was made because the two countries have already qualified for the 2023 Cricket World Cup scheduled to be played in India later this year. Other than that, the two teams are already scheduled to play three ODIs as a warm-up before the mega event in October.
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While talking at a press conference on Monday, Najam Sethi the chairman of PCB said that cricket and politics should not be mixed up. Cricket hasn’t been consistent in Afghanistan given the political situation in the country. Regarding the switch in the format, Sethi said that playing ODI wouldn’t have benefitted both teams since both have already qualified
“I met with the executive members of the Afghanistan Cricket Board and they were asking us to play an (ODI) series but we didn’t find any attraction in playing the series. It’s mainly because the series was meant for the [Super League] points, and now no matter who wins it won’t make a difference. So we agreed to play a series of three T20Is in Sharjah just after the PSL subject to government approval. We will share 50% of the revenue from the series equally. And we will jointly outsource the production.”
Why is Pakistan suddenly playing a series against Afghanistan?
On January 12th Cricket Australia (CA) announced that they are withdrawing from the three-match ODI series which was supposed to be played in the window in which now the T20Is have been arranged. They cited the Taliban’s recent policy of banning women from playing any sort of sports as the reason behind this decision.
This is not the first time, however, that CA has used the Taliban policy card to detach itself from playing against Afghanistan. In November 2021, the two teams were to lock horns in a single Test match in Hobart and were called off due to similar reasons. Another reason is that a Pak v Afg series was scheduled to be played in 2021 but had to be postponed owing to the political disturbance in the country. Hence it was decided that it was a good time to compensate for that as well.
The Pakistan v Afghanistan match is always a thriller
The two teams are absolutely fierce and so it is without a doubt that the Pak v Afg T20I series will be a thriller. Whenever the two countries are face-to-face, the game always goes to the wire. Fans on both sides possess extreme love for the sport and sometimes that love ends up in anger, the incident of Afghan fans breaking seats in Dubai stadium during the Asia Cup is a recent example.
When it comes to T20Is, the two countries have gone head-to-head thrice and the men in green have won all three times. It will be the first time, both teams will take on each other in a short format series. Hence it will be a thrilling series and the fans on both sides of the border are in for a treat.