Afghanistan Cricket Team: How did cricket grow here despite the conflict with the Taliban?

“Take off your shoes and throw them away. Come to the streets, dance and sing. Happiness is rare for us poor people.”

This is a famous line of poetry in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan cricket team is giving this rare joy to our Afghan people with every win of their world cup. Every win of Afghanistan cricket team in world cup is celebrated by the people of their country.

Overcoming geo-political issues, economic issues, structural deficiencies and various other obstacles, Afghanistan has shown mature cricket in every match of the World Cup.

How did cricket start in Afghanistan?

The role of Pakistan Cricket Board is important for the brilliant performance of Afghanistan team in international cricket.

Without the contribution of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Afghanistan cricket would not have developed early. But Afghanistan has defeated the Pakistan team in the World Cup.

Afghanistan learned to play cricket from the British since the 19th century. But cricket became popular among the Afghan refugees who took refuge in Pakistan and there they got used to playing cricket.

In 1995, Allah Dad Noori led the first national team as an experiment for Afghanistan and participated in a Grade-2 tournament in Pakistan.

The Taliban did not ban cricket.

The people of Afghanistan then returned to their homeland and in 1995, the Afghanistan Cricket Association was formed through the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

After the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, cricket was banned like other sports.

But the Taliban don’t know what they are thinking, but they changed their mind and made an exception for the game of cricket.

Pakistan accepted the guardianship of Afghan cricket.

Then in 2001, Afghanistan was included as a member country in the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Afghanistan was also inducted into the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 2003.

After playing cricket in different countries for almost 10 years, Afghanistan got recognition. Afghanistan became a full-time member of the ICC.

From 2001 to 2007, the Pakistan team itself accepted the Afghanistan cricket team and played cricket matches with them.

It cannot be forgotten that Pakistan has played a major role in the development of Afghanistan cricket.

first victory

Afghanistan’s first international victory was against Bahrain in 2004.

Then in 2007, under the leadership of Navroz Mangalach, Afghanistan won the Asian Cricket Council T20 Championship.

After Afghanistan won this trophy, the people of the country got curious about cricket.

Apart from that, Afghanistan also won the ICC World Cricket League Division-5, Division-4 and Division-3.

Eligibility for One Day Internationals

It was after this victory that Afghanistan got a chance to participate in the 2011 World Cup qualifiers. Afghanistan team failed in that.

However, for the first time, Afghanistan was given a 4-year ODI qualification. This is a very important milestone in Afghanistan cricket.

After that, Afghanistan team made a name for themselves by playing cricket matches with Scotland, Zimbabwe and Netherlands teams.

Afghanistan’s players do not have access to half the cricketing infrastructure of Western countries. But using the facilities available to him, he gradually developed his cricket team.

Apart from that, the Afghanistan team played in the 2010 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers and qualified for the World Cup by defeating Ireland by 8 wickets in the final.

T-20 World Cup:

Participating in the T20 World Cup Afghanistan team, which featured a team of international repute, was a big moment for him.

Afghanistan was eliminated in the first round after losing to India and South Africa.

However, the Afghanistan team quickly recovered from this defeat and won the ICC Intercontinental T20 Cup in Dubai by defeating Scotland.

First match against Pakistan:

In 2012, Navroz Mangal led the Afghanistan team, which is a full-time member of the ICC. This was their first match against Pakistan.

On 10 February 2012, Afghanistan lost to Pakistan by 7 wickets in Sharjah.

In 2013, Afghanistan cricket got a lot of recognition. Because he got the position of associate member after being promoted from the recognized member by ICC.

Failure to qualify for the 2011 World Cup did not disappoint Afghanistan.

Afghanistan participated in the 2015 World Cup qualifiers. They defeated Kenya by 7 wickets in the final and participated in the 2015 ODI World Cup series.

Participated in two World Cup tournaments.

Although Afghanistan suffered several defeats in the 2015 World Cup series, the most memorable moment was their one-wicket victory over Scotland.

The people of the country went from house to house and on the streets to celebrate the victory of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan team participated in the 2019 series for the second time in a row. But Afghanistan lost all the matches they played in the round robin format.

Excellent form in third World Cup

Afghanistan is participating in the 2023 World Cup for the third time in a row with a new logo.

Afghanistan team has matured a lot in their game, bowling, batting, fielding, team unity.

Therefore, current champion England, former champion Sri Lanka and Pakistan were shocked by Afghanistan and had to lose.

They have proved their batting skills with victories against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

In the 2015 World Cup series, Afghanistan team could not win against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England.

But in the subsequent 8 years, he proved himself by defeating Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England in the 2023 World Cup series.

Victory in the second Test match

On 22 June 2017, the ICC granted full membership to Afghanistan and Ireland. Then on 14th June 2018, the Afghanistan team participated in the first Test match against the Indian team in Bangalore.

This was Afghanistan’s first international Test match.

In March 2019, Afghanistan won a Test match against Ireland. It was Afghanistan’s first international Test win. Afghanistan got their first Test win in the second match.

Afghanistan then used their spin to win a Test match against Bangladesh by 224 runs in September.

Young players ready

Afghanistan team’s strong batting, bowling and fielding is due to the young players in the team. Most of the players have already made it to the Under-19 team.

Afghanistan participated in the ICC U-19 World Cup for the first time in 2010 but did not win much. But Afghanistan made it to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup,

Where they lost to Australia. Despite this, they defeated Pakistan by 185 runs to win the U-19 Asia Cup.

Mujibur Rahman, Zakir Khan, Loyal Mohammad, Rashid Khan and Ishanullah have been included in the Under-19 squad.

India’s help to participate in IPL.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has provided various forms of support for the development of Afghanistan cricket and encouraging the youth.

Touring the country to train youth cricketers, providing necessary support to cricketers in the country and allowing Afghan players to participate in the IPL auctions.

This helped him reach the next level in cricket.

Playing on the biggest platform like IPL has helped the Afghanistan cricketers to further improve their cricketing career.

After participating in the IPL series, Afghanistan’s players, who were financially weak, helped the motherland as much as they could by meeting their needs.

Contribution of former President of Afghanistan to Cricket

Hamid Karzai, who was the President of Afghanistan before the Taliban came to power, took the initiative to create a new identity and infrastructure for Afghanistan cricket.

On 2 June 2009, the then President Hamid Karzai issued an order to reform the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

Through this, Afghanistan received various financial assistance from ICC and ACC.

The Afghanistan team reached this point after crossing many hurdles.

The Afghan Sangha has overcome various obstacles and social problems to achieve this development.

It is normal for the team that has all the facilities to win. But it is remarkable that Afghanistan, coming from a country in severe political and economic instability, fell in love with cricket and achieved such development.

Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmat Shah, Jadran, Rahmatullah Gurbaz etc. players in today’s Afghanistan team have caught the attention of the world.

Earlier, Kuluddin Naib, Mohammad Shejad, former captain Asghar Afghan and Hameed Hasan have also made various contributions in bringing Afghanistan to the international level.

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan tops the ICC T20 bowler rankings, while Farooqui is in the top 10.

Mohammad Nabi in the all-rounder category, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi in the top 10 bowlers in the ODI rankings, as well as in the all-rounder category.

It is a fact that the bowling performance raised the standard of their game, and the Afghanistan team was able to reach this level for international teams.


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