Afghanistan To Compete In 2014 Asia Cup
The 2014 Asia Cup will be held in Bangladesh from 25th February and for the first time, Afghanistan will join Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the One-Day International tournament.
Having qualified for the 2015 World Cup and a third successive ICC World Twenty20 in 2014, Afghanistan were invited to participate following the Annual General Meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
The Asia Cup, run by the ACC, has since 2008 been held every two years, with Bangladesh set to host the tournament for the second time in a row.
"The tournament will go ahead as scheduled in Bangladesh from February 25, and Afghanistan will be added as the fifth team in the regional one-day tournament." ACC Chief Executive Ashraful Huq said.
"This is a big step forward for Afghanistan," he added. "Their participation in the Asia Cup will encourage them for the bigger tests ahead."
Afghanistan's participation comes following meetings between the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and their Indian (BCCI) and Sri Lankan (SLC) counterparts.
"We are grateful that the Asian Cricket Council recommended Afghanistan’s participation in the Asian Cup 2014," Dr Noor Mohammad Murad, ACB CEO said.
"We are even more thrilled that India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have agreed to our participation.
"Afghanistan needs the kind of elite level experience that competing against those full member, testing playing nations can provide for us.
"Our Under-19 National Team has just participated in the Under-19 Asian Cup and made it to the first semi final after defeating Sri Lanka Under-19 team.
"Now we believe our National Team can also be a competitive presence in this tournament.
"Win or lose the experience we gain will be very important for us and will have tremendous value for our players."
Pakistan are the reigning Asia Cup champions beating Bangladesh by two runs in a thrilling final in 2012.
Afghanistan will become just the seventh nation to have played at the Asia Cup after Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates featured in both 2004 and 2008.
Neither side won a match, and for the last two editions of the tournament, it has featured just the four Test-playing Asian nations.
© Cricket World 2014
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