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Afghanistan poised to play Pakistan amid Taliban takeover

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has assured that the three-ODI series against Pakistan will be played in Sri Lanka as planned. 

The board assured that the Taliban’s takeover of the country will not affect plans related to cricket.

The clash between both Asian countries will begin on September 3.

Both teams will have to undergo a three-day quarantine period on arrival in Sri Lanka.

In a recent interview, ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari gave the green signal for the tour.

“Cricket is doing very well. We are going to the office (ACB). The cricket team is preparing for the Pakistan series in Sri Lanka.”

“It is confirmed. We are committed to sending a team to Sri Lanka as soon as possible,” Shinwari said.

“There is a transition going on here in Afghanistan hence there is a vacuum in flight operations and availability is affected. But we will fly out as soon as we find a flight.”

“We have our boys assembled in Kabul and they are preparing for the series.”

In a separate development, Pakistan Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan has confirmed that senior players of the team will be rested for the short series.

Pakistan is currently in West Indies.

They have lost the first Test by one wicket in a game that turned out to be a nail-biter.

The clash went down to the wire, but the Windies got the 1-0 lead at home.

In the T20Is, Pakistan bagged the series 1-0 as the remaining two matches of the series were washed out.

As for Pakistan’s next Test, they will have to treat Afghanistan as equally dangerous opponents on Sri Lanka’s turf.

Rashid Khan and co have got ample experience under the belt in white-ball cricket.

Several Afghanistan stars have been busy playing franchise cricket across the globe and this has helped them elevate their level.

It is not wrong to say that Afghanistan are the giant killers, a title they would like to carry into the coming ICC T20 World Cup that will take place in the UAE and Oman this year.

How can Pakistan salvage this series?

In this series, Pakistan will have a chance to make up for their recent losses in England in limited-over games.

Players like Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Hafeez have been representing the side without any breaks. They are likely to remain on the sidelines against Afghanistan.

This is where youngsters in Pakistan’s team can make hay. Azam Khan and Sohaib Maqsood are likely to be given chances on the tour alongside Arshad Khan.

Arshad rose to fame in the last Pakistan Super League season. He was then added to the team but did not get ample chances to prove himself.

Danish Aziz is another name who might be handed another shot at redemption.

The left-handed batsman has failed to impress at the international stage. Against Afghanistan, Aziz will have a chance to stamp his authority as a permanent all-rounder in the side.

He can play second fiddle to Faheem Ashraf given that he makes it big in Sri Lanka and hammers Afghani bowlers around the park.

Azam Khan has failed to live up to his reputation recently.

He was kept quiet by England bowlers in the recent series and was not allowed to swing his arms in any game. This is his best shot to show what he is capable of.

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