Afghanistan & Cricket

22 01 2010

In the troubled lands of Afghanistan there are few stories emerging  that bring a smile to the face. An exception to this sad state of affairs is the success of the Afghanistani Cricket team over the past year. It is extraordinary to think that in a nation suffering such trials on a daily basis that any sort of cricket is played at all, let alone thrives. Yet thrive it has and the Afghanistan team has gone from strength to strength since the their classification in 2000 as an ICC affiliate member.

Currently playing Ireland in Dambulla as part of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, they are again proving their quality. Ireland of course have been regular giant killers of the past few years and recently applied for test status. So far in what is only their 3rd first class game, Afghanistan are having the better of it. In their first two games they have achieved a draw with Zimbabwe and beaten Holland. When combined with their near miss for World Cup qualification last year, it is a particularly special achievement considering that the game only became popular in the early 90’s due to the exposure gained by thousands of refugees in Pakistan.

Within their ranks they have some exuberant shot players, with Noor Ali notable for his feat in scoring 2 hundreds on his first class debut, and a young fast bowler who can hurry even the best players. With cricket increasing rapidly in popularity, despite the many hurdles and daily tragedies faced by many every day, it seems the game has a bright future in the hilly lands of Afghanistan.

The game is also blooming, albeit in a slower fashion, in the emerald isle of Ireland. Competitive every time they play, Ireland recently applied for test status. Due to a lack of domestic first class competition and worries in the depth of talent available, this is unlikely to be granted. Due to the Irish fascination with Gaelic Games the spread will be slower here but interest is increasing and further high profile wins will only help this.

***** UPDATE******

Afghanistan won their game against Ireland by 7 wickets yesterday. This means that Ireland’s grip on the title has been seriously loosened and Afghanistan are now favourites to win the competition.

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28 04 2010
A Proper 20/20 Tournament: World Cup 2010 « The Compulsive Hooker

[…] and it is truly one of the most inspiring stories to come out of that war torn country. (Click here and particularly here for more on this). With undoubted talent in their ranks and confidence […]

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