DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates will host Afghan­istan’s ‘home’ matches over the next five years, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said on Sunday.

Security concerns have kept touring teams away from Afghanistan, who play­­ed their ‘home’ matches in India in recent years. That perception has only deepened since the country’s Tali­ban takeover in August 2021.

As part of the agreement, Test playing nation Afghanis­tan will play an annual three-match T20 series against the tier-two Emirati side, the cricket boards said in a statement.

“...we are happy to support the ACB in ensuring that they have a home for their cricket,” general secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Mubashir Usmani said in a statement.

“We are also thankful to the Afghanistan Cricket Board for agreeing to play a series of T20I matches against UAE team each year.

“This will provide our UAE team with invaluable exposure and help in their development.”

The ECB would also provide logistic support to the ACB, including visa assistance and office space.

ACB chief executive Nas­e­eb Khan hoped the “fruitful agreement” would serve fut­u­re goals of both the boards.

In the past, the UAE has served as venue for Pakistan’s ‘home’ fixtures, and also hosted last year’s T20 World Cup after the showpiece had to be moved out of India following a Covid-19 crisis.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022

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