Karachi: At a time when not a single Test playing nation including minnows Bangladesh is willing to visit Pakistan because of security concerns, the Afghanistan cricket team has reached Lahore for a four week stay.
During their visit, the Affhan team will play eight ODIs and four T20 matches against Pakistan A and other sides. The Afghanistan team led by Nauroze Mangal and coached by Kabir Khan also held a press conference in Lahore yesterday.
"It is a four-week program for which Afghanistan has come to Pakistan. They will be using our facilities at the National Cricket Academy and also our coaches. Besides playing eight ODI matches and four T20 matches," Pakistan Cricket Board director Intikhab Alam said.
He said the PCB was happy to host the Afghanistan side. "The good news is that we are also in the process of negotiating with two or three countries to come to Pakistan soon," he said. The former captain said there was also a proposal to allow Afghanistan to take part regularly in Pakistan's national T20 and ODI competitions so that their players could improve their skills.
"Coming to Pakistan means that our players get to play against tough competition and get quality facilities and coaching at the NCA," Afghan coach Kabir Khan, a former Pakistan Test bowler, said.
He said the tour was in preparation for the qualifying rounds of the ICC World Cup in March and also a series against Scotland. "But our main emphasis remains on preparing a strong squad for the T20 World Cup which will be held in 2014."
Afghanistan captain, Nauroze Mangal said Pakistan had always supported Afghanistan cricket but the same sort of support was still required from other Test playing nations. "Cricket is followed passionately in our country that is why we are focusing and investing a lot in this sport. We have good talent coming up but we have just two grounds and no academy. That is why we have come to Pakistan," he said.