About Afghanistan Premier League
As its name states that Afghanistan Premier League is one of the top professional domestic cricket leagues played in Afghanistan. Some people also know it by the name Gulbahar Afghanistan Premier League. This league is managed, funded and controlled by the Afghanistan Cricket Board. Afghanistan is one of the top emerging cricket-loving countries. However, on the international boards, Afghanistan is not considered as one of the top cricket playing countries. But Afghanistan is one of the top countries those who are doing efforts to promote cricket in their countries. In the past few years, Afghanistan has invested a lot of money and did a lot of efforts to promote cricket in Afghanistan. From players to tournaments, everything is being taken care of professionally in this country. That is why the Afghanistan Premier League is considered one of the top emerging cricket tournaments. Afghanistan Cricket Board announced this cricket tournament in Afghanistan in 2017. Till now there are two editions successfully held under the banner of Afghanistan Premier League. This tournament is not so popular in the whole world, but now it is becoming popular after a lot of international players started playing in it.
Format, Foundation & Teams
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) proposed this tournament in 2017. It was proposed after the huge success in other countries and their domestic professional cricket tournaments. For the commercial purposes, this tournament was planned to be organized in a franchise model. The first edition of the inaugural edition of this tournament was held in 2018, a year after the successful planning of this tournament. In the initial tournament, the Afghanistan Cricket Board allowed five teams as the participants of this tournament. After that, they can increase the number of participating teams. However, it is not yet announced by the management that in future how many teams will be participating in this tournament. The five teams of this tournament are as follows, Balkh Legends, Kabul Zwanan, Kandahar Knights, Nangarhar Leopards, and Paktia Superkings. In 2017, Afghanistan Premier League was proposed and by the end of that year, Afghanistan Cricket Board managed to create a structure for this tournament, in 2018 International Cricket Council (ICC) approved this tournament and the first edition it was launched in 2018 successfully.
Sponsors are always important for any cricket tournament in the world. Similarly, the Afghanistan Premier League used to get different sponsorships from domestic as well as international companies. To promote the Afghanistan Premier League and to earn a huge profit out of it, the Afghanistan Cricket Board handed over the sponsorship title to the tobacco company Gulbahar. Due to this title sponsorship contract, the premier league was also started to be known as Gulbahar Afghanistan Premier League in the country. Other than this there were many different sponsors for the different merchandise teams playing in Afghanistan Premier League. The Afghanistan Cricket Board also secured the ownership of some of the cricket teams in the tournament. Various companies like 11Wickets were there to support teams with different title sponsorships. 11Wickets was the title sponsor for the Nangarhar Leopards in the recently held season.
Top Teams & Players
Balkh Legends is the top-performing team in this tournament. This team is also the current champion and won the champion title for a single time. In the final match of the first edition of this tournament, Balk Legends defeated Kabul Zwanan by four wickets and took over the champions trophy for the next year. The top players of this tournament are Mohammad Shahzad and Isuru Udana. Mohammad Shahzad is the top-scoring batsman with the highest scored runs 344. On the other hand, Sri Lankan Player Isuru Udana is the most wicket-taking bowler. He has taken 17 wickets in this tournament for the team Paktia Panthers.
Venues & Broadcasting
All the matches of Afghanistan Premier League’s first edition were held in the home grounds of Dubai and all over the UAE. The franchise teams of this tournament also have various home grounds associated with their cities or states. The final match of this tournament’s first edition was held in Sharjah Sports Stadium, Dubai.
This tournament came into controversy when so many international players were abandoned to take part in this tournament. The first edition of this tournament was held in 2018, and in the same tournament, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) rejected the plea of some Pakistani players to play in the tournament. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) cancelled NOC’s (No Objection Certificates) of the Pakistani Cricketers. Similarly, the Bangladesh Cricket Board cancelled the NOC for the Bangladeshi Cricketers those were supposed to take part in the Afghanistan Premier League.