Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Dr. Noor Muhammad (left) greets Tajikistan Cricket Federation officials. Tajikistan Cricket Federation Secretary General Ahmed Shah is in the centre.

The Tajikistan Cricket Federation are hitching their wagon to the Afghanistan Cricket Board in order to accelerate their development. The neighbouring countries are exchanging coaches and playing fixtures in both countries. “We are very happy to partner with Afghanistan, ours and Afghanistan’s cricketers and coaches will have a good understanding now,” says Federation General Secretary Ahmed Shah.

Ahmed Shah himself is a living embodiment of Afghan-Tajik co-operation. The former Afghanistan opener and Chief Selector has been working in Tajikistan for over a year along with other Afghan cricketing nationals. “The people of Tajikistan and Afghanistan have much in common. Afghanistan has inspired Tajiks to think they also can do well in cricket,” says the soft-spoken left-hander. The Tajikistan national team played three one-dayers and two T20s in Afghanistan in May and a reciprocal tour by a team from Afghanistan is in Tajikistan this month.

ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura who played a flying visit to new ACC member Tajikistan at the end of 2012 says “there is enthusiasm and a capacity to work hard in Tajikistan and if managed properly, they have a chance of coming up quite quickly.” Currently in Tajikistan, 12 schools play cricket and there are 14 registered clubs. There are even two women’s teams, Afghanistan’s national side having played three matches in Dushanbe last year.

Filed June 19th, 2013