Islamabad: The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has included Afghanistan and China in the next phase of regional cricket development, an official said on Saturday.
"The International Cricket Council (ICC) and ACC have helped Afghanistan in the past and the war ravaged country is included in our next phase of development," ACC's development manager for Asia Zakir Hussain Syed said. Besides football, cricket has emerged as one of the most popular sports in Afghanistan, which is now recovering from decades of war and the oppressive social policies of the Taleban. "Afghanistan has a special place in the development programme and we will give our all out efforts for Afghan cricket," he said. The ICC accepted Afghanistan as an affiliate member on the request of Pakistan and an Afghan cricket team led by Allah Dad Noori featured in Pakistan's domestic tournament last year. "China, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Bahrain are other countries, which are in our development plan and we have recently sent cricket gear to China where the game is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds," Syed said. The ACC appointed Bangladesh's Ashraful Haque as its chief executive officer (CEO) and Syed as development manager in a meeting on Friday. Pakistan's Brigadier Munawwar Rana, India's C Mathur and Sri Lanka's Bandula Warnapura were other candidates for the CEO's post. Bangladesh's Mohammad Ali Asgher took over as the new president of the ACC. The Council is likely to set up its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia later this year.
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