PCB chair asks Afghan players and fans to ‘behave’

Photo: ACB

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi has warned the Afghanistan Cricket Board to make sure their players and fans keep their tempers in check and maintain the spirit of the game in the upcoming T20I series.

Addressing a press conference late Monday, where the PCB announced the squad that will take on Afghanistan later this month, Sethi said he had told the ACB to ensure that their players keep their behavior in check and told the board that the PCB would not tolerate any bad behavior and would take necessary action to protect the interests of their players if needed.

Sethi said: “I had a chat with Afghanistan officials in Dubai about crowd control and their players’ behavior. What is the guarantee about managing your fans and players, because past experiences haven’t been good.”

“We told Afghanistan Board to control their players. Winning and losing is part of the game. We have experience about winning and losing so we can control our emotions, but they are new to international cricket, so they need to keep their players in check,” he said.

“In addition to that, strict action will be taken against rowdiness from people. There will be strict security in Sharjah,” he added.

Last year, when the two teams met in Sharjah in the Asia Cup tournament, Asif Ali was seen involved in a heated exchange of words with Afghan fast bowler Fareed Ahmad Malik. Fareed was accused of pushing Asif, which prompted the batsman to raise his bat at Malik. This led to other players and umpires on the field intervening.

After Pakistan won the match on the back of sixes from Naseem Shah, the crowd at the venue in Sharjah went berserk. Chairs were uprooted and thrown.

New-look squad

With one eye on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 and the other on ensuring the careers of their elite cricketers are extended by strategically managing their workloads, the PCB cricket selectors  named the new-look 15-player squad for the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan, which will be played from 24 to 27 March in Sharjah.

All-rounder Shadab Khan will captain the side that includes four uncapped players – Ihsanullah, Saim Ayub, Tayyab Tahir and Zaman Khan; while Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim have been recalled.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, along with Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have been rested. Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Khushdil Shah have been dropped.