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Afghan-born Pakistan cricketer barred from representing Afghanistan


Karachi : The World Cup hopes of a Pakistani cricketer of Afghan origin have been quashed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has ruled that the player cannot represent Afghanistan in the qualifying tournament in South Africa starting April 1.

Rifatullah Mohmand, who came close to selection for Pakistan in 2005, was selected in the Afghanistan team for the World Cup qualifier and the team coach Kabir Khan was hoping that his addition will bolster Afghanistan’s chances in the event.

However, sources said ICC has raised an objection saying that Mohmand is a Pakistani national and cannot represent Afghanistan.

Mohmand, who played 117 first-class matches in Pakistan and was also on a Pakistan A tour of Australia, had chosen to play for his country of birth — Afghanistan.

“His inclusion gives our batting more depth and experience,” Kabir Khan had said in an interview earlier this month.

The disqualification is a major blow for Mohmand, who had resigned from Pakistan’s Habib Bank (HBL) in order to play for Afghanistan. HBL is one of the leading teams on the domestic circuit and is led by Pakistan captain Younis Khan.

It is also a bog jolt for Afghanistan, who are hoping to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. The top four sides from the 12-team tournament in South Africa will play in the 2011 World Cup to be staged jointly by Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The top six will earn one-day international status until 2013.