Pakistan, Afghanistan fans clash in Leeds

Both teams are involved in a crucial 2019 World Cup match

Pakistan, Afghanistan fans clash in Leeds PHOTO COURTESY: Twitter screengrab

Pakistan and Afghanistan fans have, reportedly, clashed in Leeds, during the ongoing 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup match between the two sides.

According to details, a certain faction of Afghanistan supporters, present at the venue, clashed with Pakistan fans and security officials and hurled abuses — both inside and outside the stadium.  

Reports further stated that Afghanistan fans also harassed a Pakistani journalist outside the stadium, although he remained safe during the incident.

Afghan fans clash with security officials and Pakistani Fans.
Also harass Pakistani media personnel.@cricketworldcup @TheRealPCB @ACBofficials

— Anas Saeed (@anussaeed1) June 29, 2019

Pakistani and Afghanistani fans fighting outside Leeds stadium. #PAKvAFG #AFGvPAK #CWC19 #PAKvsAFG #cricket #Leeds

— #CWC19 (@UbaidAwan) June 29, 2019

The International Cricket Council has said it will take action against any fans involved in "scuffles" before the Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley on Saturday.

"We are aware of some scuffles among a minority of fans and are currently working with the venue security team and the local police force, West Yorkshire Police, to ensure there are no further incidents," an ICC spokesperson said. "We do not condone this type of behaviour, and will take appropriate action against any anti-social behaviour that spoils the enjoyment for the majority of fans."

Earlier Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib won the toss and decided to bat in the World Cup match against Pakistan at Headingley on Saturday.

Pakistan, who have seven points from as many games and are in contention for the semi-finals, kept an unchanged side from the one that beat New Zealand by six wickets at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Afghanistan brought in fast bowler Hamid Hassan in place of Dawlat Zadran from the line up which lost to Bangaldesh.

Title holders Australia are the only side to have already qualified for the semi-finals in the 10-team competition.

Afghanistan’s encounter with Pakistan is perhaps the World Cup match that cricket fans in the war-weary nation will be watching most intensely.

With years of distrust and blame between the two countries, a high-stakes victory over Pakistan in the sport it loves best on Saturday would taste especially sweet to Afghans.

Cricket became popular in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion of 1979, with young people learning the sport in refugee camps on the Pakistan border.

All-rounder Mohammad Nabi and leg-spinner Rashid Khan started playing the game in Peshawar while the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) helped Afghanistan cricket by providing equipment and playing opportunities.

Two former Pakistan internationals — Kabir Khan and Rashid Latif — have played key roles in the development of Afghanistan as coaches over the past decade.