Afghanistan Premier League aims to among top 3 in the world
Afghanistan Premier League will be played from October 5, 2018 to October 23, 2018 and the host venue Sharjah Cricket Stadium will see five franchise teams going all out for the glory over a total of 23 matches. The league, having garnered much hype and praise from across the world will see some global marquee players’ turn-up including the likes of Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi and the Afghan cricket’s most beloved star Rashid Khan, amongst many more. With star power to boast about, Afghan cricket is hoping to become a name to reckon with in the global map, and the league is aiming to become one of the top three T20 leagues in the world in coming two-three years.
The draft, set to take place on 10th September will see a total pool of 400 players who will up for grabs by the provincial-division franchise teams namely Kandahar, Paktia, Kabul, Balkh and Nangarhar. All five teams are not sold.
Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO ShafiqullahStanikzai emphasized upon how much Afghanistan Cricket has grown in popularity in UAE and Indian subcontinent and that this following will help APL become a raging success. Talking to Sport360°, Stanikzai said “The APL will be among the top three leagues in the world in two to three years. The viewership that we have across the globe and especially in the Indian market is big. After their own team, the most watched team in India is Afghanistan”. He also told, “Asian subcontinent is the biggest market and timing of Afghanistan Premier League will suit that”.
Ashish Sethi (CEO) Investment partners of APL, Snixer Sports iterated about the huge potential APL has shown, adding, “You will get to see a lot of raw talent. If you see IPL and Big Bash, they have a few (Afghan) players you are aware of. Here, you will see players you haven’t even heard of. We look forward to having many more Rashids and Nabis”.
Sethi stated that they hope to break-even by the third year and after that start making profits as the league will generate more interest once it is up and running and making profits afterwards will just be a matter of time.
Stanikzai sees APL not just about adding more financial strength to Afghan cricket but creating a larger pool of talented players that will rise on the radar for the other franchisees to take a note of and give chances globally. He said that the APL will provide the much needed exposure to the pool of talent Afghan cricket has, apart from the national regulars. Stanikzai hopes to see Afghanistan pool of talent to become hot pick in IPL from next year or so, when there can be 10 to 20 players picked by different IPL franchisees.