The inaugural edition of the Afghanistan Premier League will be played in the United Arab Emirates in October this year, it was confirmed on Friday. The board had already signed the Memorandum of Understanding in January this year.
Shukrullah Atif Mashal, the Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman, revealed as many as 40 international cricketers have shown their interest towards the league which will be a five-team event.
He said: “Their presence will raise the quality of the league from the Shpageeza Cricket League that we organise at home. We are thankful to the overseas cricketers for helping Afghanistan cricket rise to the next level. We are grateful to our government for its support and encouragement. We believe we can provide our youth the platform to shine and move away from negative influences.”
The league, however, will have no impact on the Shpageeza Cricket League and it will continue to be played in Afghanistan. Shafiqullah Stanikzai, the CEO, felt the league will help Afghanistan’s home-grown cricketers showcase their talent.
“It has been a unifying tool, contributing to peace, development and stability in the country. It will open the doors for youngsters inside the country and around the globe. The Board aims to make APL T20 to be among the world’s top three leagues,” he said.
“We have the official approval of the ECB for the Afghan Premier League. Without such support, it would not be possible for the League to take off,” the CEO concluded.
This is the second major T20 competition that the UAE will play host to, potentially on an annual basis. Both seasons of the Pakistan Super League have been played in the UAE also.