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Update Players will have to return from BBL for Ireland series: Afghanistan Cricket Board
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[Image: afghanistan-will-take-on-irela.jpg]

An Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) official said on Wednesday (November 18) that they will not allow their cricketers to opt-out of the three-match ODI series against Ireland. As a result, they will have to return back from the Big Bash League for national duty.

On Tuesday, ACB confirmed that the ODI series against Ireland will go ahead as planned in January, scheduled to be played in the UAE on January 18, 21 and 23. The series that will be part of the ODI Super League comes as a headache for BBL clubs who are now unsure of the availability of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi. The trio had signed deals with the Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Renegades respectively for the entire season earlier.

Uncapped Noor Ahmad, who had recently signed for the Renegades, is unlikely to have his availability affected given that he hasn't made his international debut yet, while one-ODI-old Zahir Khan is all set to join Melbourne Stars as their third overseas cricketer in the competition. If the duo, however, make the cut for the ODI squad, they will also have to return at the halfway stage.

Speculation was rife that the aforementioned cricketers may be given permission to opt out of the series, given the unlikeliness to be able to take part in the series and return for the BBL playoffs from January 29-February 6 considering the mandatory 14-day quarantine period on arrival in Australia currently in place for overseas travellers from anywhere other than New Zealand.

Raees Ahmadzai, ACB's director of cricket, confirmed to Cricbuzz that they are expecting the cricketers selected in the ODI squad to be available before the series against Ireland as they are well aware that the World Cup qualification points are on the line through the ODI Super League.

"Players will go to BBL and come back for national duty," Ahmadzai told Cricbuzz adding that they are expecting to form the squad before the start of BBL so that it becomes easy for the franchises in the competition to make a plan knowing which (Afghanistan) players will be available for them. "Squad will be named before the BBL." he said

It is understood that Cricket Ireland is keen to ensure that the tour goes ahead and their centrally-contracted players are back at training. On the other hand, ACB is planning to start their camp from December 5, subject to Covid-19 situation in UAE.

"Will see if Covid-19 allows, we will start the camp from December 5 (in UAE)," said Ahmadzai adding that their foreign coaching staff are expected to be available for the camp.

Afghanistan head coach Lance Klusener and batting coach HD Ackermann last had a session with the national team during the Test series against India and since did not take part in any training activities, though ACB had a national camp in Kabul in June ahead of the Asia Cup that was eventually scrapped following the postponement of the tournament.

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