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APLT20 launched amid fanfare
By Mohammad Abdullah August 28, 2018
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Dubai: Afghanistan, the youngest Full Member Nation of the ICC, took another giant stride towards making its presence felt at the international stage by launching its own T20 league after being granted Test status recently.

The inaugural edition of the Afghanistan Premium League Twenty 20 (APLT20) was launched amid fanfare in Dubai on Monday.

By launching its own league the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has reaffirmed its status of being the one of the fastest growing cricketing nation.

The APLT20 will be held from Oct.5-23, over a period of 18 days. A total of 23 matches will be played and all the games will be held at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Five teams — Kabul, Kandhar, Nangarhar, Patika and Balkh — will vie for the top honours and world-class players are expected to be the part of the APLT20. The five teams will represent five provinces of Afghanistan.

International stars like Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle, Rashid Khan and Brendon McCullum will be seen in action during the tournament.

Atif Mashal, chairman of the ACB, expressed his delight on the launch of the APLT20.

“We are delighted to be a part of this historic moment. We want to congratulate everyone associated with the launch of this league. It could have never been possible without the support of all our well-wishers,” he said.

The CEO of the ACB, Shafiqullah Stanikzai,informed the two of the franchise owners have been decided and three more are in negotiations.

“Few very big names in the franchise cricket have shown their interest and we are in the final round of finalising the deal with them,” said Stanikzai.

He also accepted the fact that they were a little late with just around 40 days to go in the beginning of the league.

“I know we are a little late. But we got the approvals quite late from ICC. But we are confident of making it happen at the right time.”

Speaking about the financial feasibility of the league, he informed: “This is a fact that it is not financially feasible for ACB to launch a league of their own. We got the Test status recently and that has already added more burden and responsibilities.

“But we have sponsors and investors who are ready to put their money and ACB’s money is not at stake. Meanwhile we wish all the best to our sponsors and hope all the stake holders get good returns,” he added.

He also asserted it was the right time to launch this league despite a jam-packed calendar in the UAE over the next few months.

“We know it is a bit jam-packed calendar in the UAE but I think this is the right time to launch this league. Asia Cup will set the tone and we will carry on the momentum. We hope it will be a big success,” said Shafiqullah.

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