Dubai International Cricket Stadium is one of the venues in the UAE where Afghanistan will play their home matches for the next five years. Image Credit: IPL/ANI

The UAE national cricket team will face Afghanistan in a three-match T20I series each year for the next five years following the signing of a new deal that will also see Afghanistan play their home matches in the Emirates.

An agreement was signed between the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) to firm up the deal. It means the UAE will be guaranteed matches against elite opposition which will help them to develop and improve.

The ECB will “provide valuable logistic support to the Afghanistan Cricket Board, including visa assistance and office space”, an ACB statement said.

No-go zone

Given the political situation in Afghanistan, it has remained a no-go zone for international teams.

As per the ICC’s Future Tours Programme (FTP), Afghanistan are set to host Australia, Pakistan and West Indies in three ODIs each, as well as Zimbabwe across formats, in the next year leading into the 2023 ODI World Cup. In the UAE, these can be spread across venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

“Both parties, the Emirates Cricket Board and the Afghanistan Cricket Board enjoy long and cordial relations and we are happy to support the ACB in ensuring that they have a home for their cricket,” said Mubashir Usmani, the ECB secretary. “We are also thankful to the Afghanistan Cricket Board for agreeing to play a series of T20I matches against UAE Team each year. This will provide our UAE team with invaluable exposure and help in their development,” he added.