The Afghanistan Cricket Board has snapped up the services of former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson for the Under 19 Afghanistan Cricket Team, as a consultant for the team as it looks ahead to the Under 19 Cricket World Cup that is to be held later in the year Down Under in Australia.
Lawson, who coached the Pakistan Cricket Team for around a couple of years, will join the Afghan team when they reach Australia three weeks before the tournament kicks off in August. According to an official of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, they had approached the Australian for the post of consultant and he has agreed to take over the role of consultant for the young side.
For only the second time in history, Afghanistan has managed to qualify for the Twenty20 world cup. The feat is one of the greatest achievements in Afghanistan’s sporting history with the wore torn nation not being known for its sporting prowess.
While the team has virtually no chance of success at the actual tournament, their even being there is a huge boost for both Afghan cricket and sport in general.
Gregg Chappell might have left his post as the coach of the Indian Cricket Team almost 5 years back now after the debacle of a first round exit 2007 World Cup but it seems that he still holds a grudge against anything and everything about Indian cricket, blasting the attitude of the team towards Test cricket in a recent interview.
The former Indian Cricket Team coach said that the Indians hardly seemed interested in playing Test cricket during their recently concluded Tour of Australia, further commenting that Test cricket is extremely hard for Indians, especially when it is played on foreign soil.
The very mention of their name might send a chill a chill down the spine of almost everyone living in and around Afghanistan, but in a recent news that shocked almost everyone in the region, the Taliban called up the Afghanistan Cricket Board to convey a message to the Afghanistan Cricket Team ahead of their scheduled One Day International match against neighbors Pakistan at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
The message that was sent to the Cricket Board by the Taliban was conveyed by their spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid and once this news spread; there was widespread disbelief at this gesture by the terrorist organization.
Yuvraj Singh was recently diagnosed with a rare condition called ‘mediastinal seminoma’, a rare form of cancer which is a germ-cell tumour, which is located between his lungs.
He is currently in the United States undergoing chemotherapy, and has been told that the tumour is curable.
He has been told that he should be cured within 10 weeks, with the possibility of returning to the cricket field on the 1st of May.
Yuvaj recently took to Twitter to thank those who have been wishing him well, saying he has been overwhelmed by the response and support he has received. It is a dreadful turn of events for Yuvraj, who remains one of the most powerful and extravagant stroke makers in the game of cricket, and a man India could sorely do to return to fighting health again.
The story of the Afghanistan cricket team is an incredibly uplifting one.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board was actually formed by Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with the game of cricket rising in popularity rising amongst the Afghan people. Since then, Afghanistan’s rise through the game of cricket has been incredible.
In only 2008, they were in Division 5 of the World Cricket League, and by 2010 they were competing alongside the best teams in the world at the ICC World Twenty20.
Cricket for this inspirational Afghanistan team is going from strength to strength, and in February 2012 are due to play their first One Day International against a full member side when they take on Pakistan in Sharjah.
Cricketing history will be made on Friday when Afghanistan travel to Sharjah to face Pakistan - their first ever one-day international against a Test-playing nation.
In a one-off encounter, three days before the start of Pakistan’s ‘home’ one-day series against England in the UAE, Afghanistan will attempt to achieve one of the sport’s greatest ever upsets against their neighbours.
Despite earning One Day International status in 2009 they have only ever faced Associate and Affiliate teams in 50-over contests before, though they do possess some pedigree in the Twenty20 arena.
They are currently ranked ninth in the ICC rankings for the shortest version of the game, and during the World Twenty20 competition in 2010 they played both India and South Africa.
Friday’s historic fixture is another example of increasingly harmonious cricketing relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan team became the first to tour Pakistan since the attack on Sri Lanka’s team coach in March 2009 when they played a trio of 50-over matches against Pakistan A in May this year.
In addition, plans were made for Afghanistan to join Pakistan’s domestic Twenty20 tournament, though this never came to fruition.
The cricketing ties between the two nations have drawn praise from the ICC.
Tim Anderson, ICC Global Development Manager, recently spoke of his admiration for the link and stressed how the organisation were striving to develop the cricketing culture in countries where it was seen as a minority sport.
He stated how nations such as Scotland, UAE, Nepal and even Papa New Guinea were places with huge potential for future growth.
The case of Afghanistan, a burgeoning cricket nation about to take their mightiest step forward on Friday, proves how cricket is a sport that has the ability to flourish if the grassroots are in place.
Kabir Khan, the coach of the United Arab Emirates national cricket team has denied claims that he has agreed terms and signed on a contract that will see him return as the coach of the Afghanistan Cricket Team but has admitted that he might have to resign from his job as the UAE coach eventually due to family reasons.
It was recently leaked on the website of the Afghanistan Cricket Board that the highly successful coach will return to coach the national side after a gap of a year but Kabir Khan has strongly denied those claims.
According to Khan, he was aware of what was put up on the website of the Afghanistan Cricket Board but he strongly claimed that no contract had been signed between the two parties and he did not even mention that he wanted to return to the coach’s job of the Afghanistan Cricket Team, a role that he was highly successful in before leaving for greener pastures in the summer of 2010. However, he further added that he had intimated to the members of the United Arab Emirates Cricket Board that he wished to leave the post of the national team coach due to family reasons.
The 37 year old, who was a highly successful bowler for Pakistan during his playing days coached the Afghanistan Cricket Team to several victories against the ICC associate nations and even led the team to the ICC World Twenty Championships in the West Indies in 2010.
He started off his career with the national team of UAE with a bang as well and his first year in charge was extremely successful but after failing to find suitable schools for his kids in Sharjah, he plans to return to his native country as early as possible and start all over again.
Afghanistan all round cricketer Abdul Razzaq is gearing up for the upcoming Test series against the number one Test team in the world, England at the United Arab Emirates by getting ample game time in the KFC Big Bash League, a Twenty 20 format tournament in Australia.
In fact, Razzaq and his teammate in the national side Shahid Afridi hope that this month long stint of playing cricket at the very top level will only do them good and put them mentally and physically in a position to beat the mighty English.
Afgahnistan will start with a tough cricket match against Hong Kong in the Asian Cricket Council's Twenty20 tournament.
The Afghans are the favourites to win the competition outright, but must start their journey with a testing match against Hong Kong. Victory in the ACC Twenty20 will guarantee them a place in next years World Twenty20 Cup in Sri Lanka 2012.
They will also face matches against Oman, Kuwait and Maldives in the group stages, before going on to face the winners and runners-up of Group B, which contains Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Bhutan and Saudi Arabia.