Two weeks after his Man-of-the-Match performance in the final of the World Cup Qualifier, Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad has been asked by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) to reside permanently in Afghanistan or risk having his contract terminated. Shahzad currently resides in Peshawar, Pakistan. He has also been fined AFN 300,000 (USD 4000 approx) for participating in a local tournament in Peshawar without permission.
The ACB this week chalked out a strict policy and gave a one-month ultimatum to players who live abroad to return to Afghanistan. Peshawar, a northern city in Pakistan, is close to the Afghanistan border.
“They [contracted players] are not allowed to travel to any country without permission,” ACB chairman, Atif Mashal, told ESPNcricinfo. “Those players who are living on foreign land are given a month to move back to Afghanistan with their families, otherwise the cricket board will terminate their contracts. Afghanistan Cricket Board has made a strict rule about player discipline and given them a one-month notice to adhere firmly with the policy. All players and employees should be based in Afghanistan and they are not allowed to play in any foreign country without ACB’s approval.”
Shahzad, 30, had spent his early years in a refugee camp in Peshawar, but his parents are originally from Nangrahar, Afghanistan. He, along with various team-mates, grew up near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and he was married in Peshawar and spends most of his time in Pakistan. There is a significant number of Afghans, once refugees, who now reside in Pakistan, mainly in Peshawar, registered in the country as temporary residents.
Shahzad was found to be breach of the ACB’s code of conduct by playing in the local Peshawar tournament. “He played in a club-level tournament without NOC which is against the ACB code of conduct,” Mashal said.
Shahzad had missed out on national duty through much of 2017 due to an ICC suspension over a positive drug test. He became eligible to play again on January 17 this year, returning for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.