APL 2018 – Afghanistan Premier League is the fifth T20 league in the Asiatic region. Starting from PSL – Pakistan Super League in February-March to IPL – Indian Premier League in May-June & SPL – Sri Lanka Premier League to BPL – Bangladesh Premier League, the entire cricket season is full of excitement and passion. Now APL – Afghanistan Premier League is another bliss for cricket lovers in this region.
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have triumphantly hosted domestic T20 series in the recent years, but the upcoming domestic cricket in Afghanistan will add another milestone in the history of cricket. As a part of the T20 series, a total of 23 matches will be played. The league will see a significant presence of international cricketers which will add weight to the competition and make it heftier than any other league ever organised by the country or by the Afghanistan Cricket Board. This year, the league will be played in October among five teams representing different provinces in Afghanistan.
|Date||Day||APL Matches Schedule||Time|
|05/10/2018||Friday||KABUL vs PAKTIA||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|06/10/2018||Saturday||NANGARHAR vs KANDAHAR||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|06/10/2018||Saturday||KABUL vs BALKH||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|07/10/2018||Sunday||PAKTIA vs NANGARHAR||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|07/10/2018||Sunday||BALKH vs KANDAHAR||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|09/10/2018||Tuesday||KABUL vs NANGARHAR||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|10/10/2018||Wednesday||PAKTIA vs BALKH||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|11/10/2018||Thursday||KANDAHAR vs KABUL||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|11/10/2018||Thursday||NANGARHAR vs BALKH||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|12/10/2018||Friday||PAKTIA vs KANDAHAR||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|12/10/2018||Friday||KABUL vs NANGARHAR||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|13/10/2018||Saturday||BALKH vs PAKTIA||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|13/10/2018||Saturday||KANDAHAR vs NANGARHAR||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|14/10/2018||Sunday||KABUL vs BALKH||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|14/10/2018||Sunday||NANGARHAR vs PAKTIA||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|16/10/2018||Tuesday||KABUL vs KANDAHAR||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|17/10/2018||Wednesday||NANGARHAR vs BALKH||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|17/10/2018||Wednesday||KANDAHAR vs PAKTIA||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|18/10/2018||Thursday||KANDAHAR vs BALKH||4 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|18/10/2018||Thursday||KABUL vs PAKTIA||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|19/10/2018||Friday||SEMI FINAL -1||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|20/10/2018||Saturday||SEMI FINAL -2||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
|21/10/2018||Sunday||FINAL||8 PM GST / 9 PM PKT / 9:30 PM IST|
The names of the five teams in APL 2018 that will be playing the inaugural edition of Afghanistan Premier League are Balkh, Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Paktia. The players have been divided into categories and will be paid accordingly. These categories are Icon Category, Diamond Category, Gold Category, ICC Associate Players Category, Emerging Players Category. Some of the names that have been doing the rounds are Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Andre Russell, Brendon McCullum, Ravi Bopara and Sohail Tanvir. All the twenty-three matches will be played in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE will be hosting a T20 cricketing premier league for the third time. Before this, it has hosted Indian Premier League and Pakistan Super League. In India, DSports Channel will broadcast matches. All the matches will be played at Sharjah International Stadium, a venue that has witnessed some legendary matches on its ground. The APLC will be among the top three leagues in the world in coming two to three years.
The five teams will be led by Chris Gayle, Rashid Khan, Brendon McCullum, Shahid Afridi and Andre Russell. According to some sources, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Dwayne Bravo are also set to take part in the competition. The five teams have been named after the five cities of Afghanistan. Starting from the 5th of October, the teams will clash to win the series. During these 17 days when the 23 matches will take place, each of these teams will face the other team twice.
Balkh team comprises of Chris Gayle, Ben Laughlin, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam, Ravi Bopara, Colin Munro, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Irfan, Kamran Akmal, Qais Ahmad, Usman Ghani, Ben Laughlin, Ikram Alikhel, Ryan Den Doeschate.
Kabul, on the other hand, has Rashid Khan, Laurie Evans, Javed Ahmadi, Farid Malik, Colin Ingram, Luke Ronchi, Hazrat Zazai, Sohail Tanvir, Wayne Parnell, Shahidullah Kamal, Muslim Musa, Laurie Evans, Afsar Zazai and Mohammad Asghar Hotak.
Kandhar team, which will be led by Brendon McCullum, boasts of players like Sam Billings, Karim Janat, Najib Zadran, Paul Sterling, Wahab Riaz, Asghar Stanikzai, Tymal Mills, Iftikhar Ahmad, Hamza Hotak, Karim Sadiq, Sam Billings, Sayed Shirzad and Mohammad Naveed.
Nangarhar’s team comprises of Andre Russell, Mushfiqur Rahim, Najib Tarakai, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Ben Cutting, Tamim Iqbal, Mujeeb Zadran, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohammad Hafeez, Rahmat Shah, Naveen ul Haq, Mushfiqur Rahim, Zahir Khan and Sandeep Lamichhane.
Coach : Venkatesh Prasad
The fifth team, Paktia will have Shahid Afridi, Faheem Ashraf, Samiullah Shinwari, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Cameron Delrport, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Shahzad, Chris Jordan, Luke Wright, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Faheem Ashraf, Zia ur Rahman Akbar, Calum McLeod in the team.
The inaugural edition of APL 2018 – Afghanistan Premier League is expected to be a star-studded affair with at least forty international players agreeing to be a part of the tournament. Although Indian players will be missing at the Afghanistan Premier League despite numerous requests by the organisers and Afghanistan Cricket Board, the enthusiasm among Indian cricket fans is unparalleled.
Afghanistan is, undoubtedly, a giant leap in the world of Afghanistan cricket. The domestic team of the country will have a golden opportunity to learn and play beside some of the most renowned cricketers in International cricket of our times. It will help the cricketers test their talent and skill as well as improve upon them. Fans and experts are of the view that cricket league will offer a massive opportunity for cricketers to learn from the best. The love for the game of cricket in the continent coupled with the timing of the league will ensure that the tournament grabs many eyeballs and proves to be a defining moment for many cricketers and boost their careers.
On the financial front, the league have an expectation to make much money for the organisers and the players alike. Experts think that at least 10-12 players will emerge as hot picks for franchise cricket, especially for Indian Premier League. The increasing popularity of this format of the game coupled with the centuries-old love for cricket in the subcontinent will prove beneficial to cricketers, especially the emerging talents by offering international exposure. The organisers expect that the league will reach break-even by the third year and should start making profits by the time the league enters its fourth year.