Afghanistan, currently an Associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) are reportedly keen on applying for an upgrade on their membership status. There has been a lot of organisational and structural reforms in the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in the past few years. As per ICC norms, professional administrators have been appointed to run the show and the performance of the national team has improved drastically.
Now ACB feels the time has come for the recognition from ICC. However the ICC rules say that to gain full membership, the member board needs to organise domestic First-Class matches. In Afghanistan, currently there is a four-day tournament between five regional teams but it has not received First-Class status yet.
However, apart from this one point, the ACB have ticked off all the other necessary requirements to be a full member, like at least one cricket ground in every region and a national cricket academy in Kabul, along with a development structure for teams from the youth to the senior levels. The board has already applied for First-Class status, an ACB official said while talking to ESPNCricinfo.
“We don’t have that recognition yet; in 2011 we started the three-day tournament and then in 2014 we started the four-day tournament. We have a grade-three 50-overs tournament between 16 provinces, a grade-two tournament between 16 provinces and a grade-one competition between eight provinces and the regional one-day cup. The proposal has been sent to the ICC and we are hopeful to get the recognition in the ICC meeting in February,” he said.
Afghanistan have received their ODI and T20I status and if they get the First-Class recognition in February, ACB could expect to receive full membership by the end of the year.