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.
Another testament to the strength of Afghanistan is the fact that as part of the ICC’s combined Associate and Affiliate team that will play England in the UAE in the New Year, Afghanistan have 3 representatives within the team.
There are next to no first class facilities in Afghanistan, so in order to take part in any top quality training, trips to places like Pakistan are needed. Hamid Hassan, Afghanistan’s quickest bowler, is a world class talent, and is also symptomatic of the raw talent Afghanistan possesses.
Hopefully with the increased exposure they are receiving now as part of their participation in the World T20, they can generate funds to improve facilities and help improve the domestic structure of the game within Afghanistan, and nurture the junior players they possess. Might be worth placing a cricket bet on Afghanistan to do big things in the future.
It is also imperative to their progress that they manage to qualify for the World T20 in Sri Lanka, and with only 2 teams from the 16 teams participating in the qualifiers, it will be a tough task.