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The rise and rise of Afghan cricket

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The Afghanistan team line up prior to the start of their Cricket World Cup Pool A match against Bangladesh in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

(G.N.S) DT.24

Afghanistan’s qualifying for 2019 ICC World Cup has left us in awe of this nation that started their cricket journey only a decade back.

The Afghans have come a long way and are currently ranked 10th in ODIs.

They are ranked 9th in T20Is, one spot ahead of Bangladesh.

Here, we look at the meteoric rise of cricket in this war-torn country

Since 2009, Afghanistan have played 97 ODIs winning 50 of them while losing just 45.

When it comes to the T20 format, their record is even more impressive with 41 wins from 63 matches while registering just 22 losses.

Afghanistan are set to play their first Test against India later this year in June.

In 2008, Afghans joined the World Cricket League Division Five and in 2010 they played their first major international tournament, the World Twenty20.

Two years later, they became the top-ranked associate nation.

And, last year, they were handed their Test status after they went knocking on ICC’s door on the back of their performances.

The rise of Afghanistan is inspiring for other associate nations.

Afghanistan formed the cricket federation just 20 years ago and have achieved a lot in such a short span of time.

Most of the Afghan national team players grew up in refugee camps outside Pakistan’s border city of Peshawar.

This is where they were exposed to cricket and for years cheered Pakistan and dreamt of having their own team one day.

Cricket was not popular under Taliban regime

Being a cricketer was not easy in Afghanistan, especially under the Taliban regime. The extremist group viewed sports, especially football, as a distraction from one’s religious duties. However, even the Taliban caught the cricket bug and started cheering the Afghan team.

There is no denying that the PCB played a role in the development of Afghan cricket. However, the BCCI actually propelled Afghan cricket to new heights.

Since making Noida their home, they have gone from strength to strength.

Afghanistan have just scratched the surface and we expect a lot of good cricket from them in the coming years.

 

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