Afghanistan Premier League (APL) was officially launched and its logo unveiled in a colourful ceremony held in Intercontinental Hotel Dubai.
ACB chairman Atif Mashal welcomed guests and stakeholders and called APL a great opportunity for afghan players to shine alongside other renowned T20 players at the international stage. Mashal thanked the ICC for approving the league, Emirates Cricket Board for sanctioning the league to be staged in UAE, Sharjah cricket council for providing the venue for the event and all other stakeholders for their contributions.
He said, “Afghanistan Premier League is a new chapter both in the history of Afghanistan and world cricket that will benefit all major stakeholders in one way or another.” Mashal added that APL will provide a great platform for Afghan players to develop skills and learn from global stars with whom they will share the dressing room and play alongside on the field.
The APL logo, which features three colors of Afghanistan’s national flag and a vector featuring a batsman and wickets, was also unveiled during the event. ACB CEO Shafiq Stanikzai also addressed the gathering and talked about the inspiration behind the logo. He explained that the three colors of Afghan national flag used in the logo represent Afghan patriotism. He added: “The APL logo represents afghan cricketing style of playing with passion and aggression.”
He envisioned that the league will be among the top three cricket leagues in the world in the years to come. It will be a representation of the love and passion that the people in Afghanistan have for the game.
Responding to questions by the media, Stanikzai said: “We are confident that Afghans will come to watch the games in great numbers. We also request the business community in Afghanistan to actively participate by buying franchises as the league will feature high profile players and icons like Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Brendon McCullum as well as other players from both full and associate members of ICC. The games will be broadcasted across the globe through recognized TV channels. “
ACB Head of Media and Marketing, Lutfullah Stanikzai provided further information to the audience about the league. He explained that the league will feature five teams namely Kabul, Paktia, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Balkh, representing all parts of the country.
Stanikzai added: “In APL, the team names are after the capital provinces of the four zones as well as the capital Kabul. Comparatively, in Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) five teams are named after the five cricketing zones in the country and one after the capital Kabul.”
Two of the mentioned franchises, Balkh and Paktia have already been purchased by VRock Mobiles India and Legendary Man Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, respectively. The owners of these fanchises were awarded certificates of congratulations by ACB Chairman Atif Mashal and Snixer Sports CEO Ashish C. Sethi during the event.
Representing Sharjah Cricket Club, Vice Chairman Waleed Bukhatir congratulated ACB and other stakeholders and called APL a major achievement for ACB. He said that Sharjah Cricket Stadium has been and will continue to be the home of Afghan cricket. He appreciated the efforts that ACB and its management have put for Afghan players.