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IPL is keenly followed in Afghanistan: U-19 cricket team manager

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The Indian Premier League (IPL) is keenly followed in Afghanistan, says Naweed Sayem, manager of the country’s under-19 cricket team.

Amid the explosions rising from constant fighting, political or otherwise, cricket has taken giant strides in the war-ravaged nation and Sayem on Thursday confirmed that there was now a cricketing structure in place.

The Afghan players are here to play a tri-series against India and Bangladesh. A good show here will help boost the confidence of the outfit ahead of the January U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.

“It is a good platform which will help in our preparation for the World Cup next year. It is a mini-Asia tournament which our cricket board wanted us to play in. Cricket has improved nowadays.

“The IPL is keenly followed in Afghanistan. People in shops and offices everybody watches the IPL and therefore there is a rise in interest in T20 cricket back in our country,” Sayem told reporters here.

Afghanistan captain Ihsan Ullah Jannat said there was an IPL styled league which is being staged in the country from 2013 called ‘Shpajiza’ which means ‘sixer’. The tournament features six teams from different regions.

Jannat added: “We have played quite well in the last few months and won a series in Malaysia. I hope Inzamam Ul Haq (who has been roped in as the senior team coach) will help us too after settling down a bit.”