When I think of Afghanistan it is caves, bombs and the Taliban. It certainly isn’t a vision of hard-playing sportsman.
It happened when the ten-year war (1979-1989) with Russia drove two million Afghans into Northern Pakistan. Something magical happened. Sitting in camps with nothing to do but watch the game of Cricket stirred a fire in their bellies.
Before long Afghans were learning the game and giving the experienced players some tough competition.
When the players returned home they found a coach, formed teams and news spread across the country.
Coach Taj Malik said: “We are fighters and cricket is very competitive. When we play it is also very personal. A player represents his family, his tribe, his country. It was not long ago that the same skill needed for cricket – courage, coordination, strength – was needed in our country to fight or just survive.”
Afghans struggle when they play on turf because at home they practice on dusty fields with artificial wickets.
Yet, against the odds, Afghanistan National Cricket has participated six times in Pakistan domestic cricket, which they won three 3-day matches and 1 limited overs match.
The Minister of Sport has made Cricket the number one sport in Afghanistan. It is very popular on TV.
I feel good for this country and its people who now can be known for something good.
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full
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