Afghanistan Cricket team, playing at the World Cricket League being held in Sharjah, UAE, needs one more win to qualify for the Cricket World Cup 2015. Their last game is against Kenya.The captain of the Afghan cricket team,Mohammadd Nabi, visibly upbeat about their upcoming encounter with Kenya, talking to the press, said:
“We’ve got one more game left and if we win on Friday, we will celebrate – the team will be celebrating and the whole nation will be celebrating that win.”
If Afghan team wins, it would be history in the making for this war torn country.Cricket is not the national game of Afghanistan, but because of the Afghan war of the 80’s and the mass exodus of the Afghans to Pakistan; their, over two decades long stay in Pakistan; studying in the local colleges and universities; and playing for these institutions , acquainted them with cricket.
Their present coach is also a Pakistani. Plus, it is due to help of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), that they were accepted as an affiliate cricket nation by the International Cricket Council (ICC). And now the time has come to show off their talent at the world stage.
They are 19 points behind Ireland, another affiliate nation of the ICC. The Irish have already qualified for the Cricket World Cup 2015, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The Afghan players are confident that they will easily win against the Kenyans, because they defeated them easily a couple of days back. This win would place them in the tough pool at the Cricket World Cup 2015, with the giants of the game, namely Austrllia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and England.
The team has little prospects of winning against any of these teams, but they surely will try their level best to put on a great show, as they have nothing to loose. But by putting a strong performance, against at least, one of these teams will not only boost their morale but also make the whole Afghan nation proud.
Mohammad Nabi, also said that he is proud of his players, who really played hard during the two years long World Cricket League , and it was solely due to their efforts that today the Afghan team is in a strong position to book a berth for the Cricket World Cup 2015.
He also thanked the supporters, who traveled all the way from Afghanistan to Sharjah, to support their home team. He promised these fans that the team would not disappoint them and would defeat Kenya convincingly as they had done a couple of days back.
It is important to mention that Afghanistan was granted an affiliate status in 2011 by the International Cricket Council and were made associate members by the same body in early 2013. The next step in this progression would be gaining test playing status, but that is the last thing on the Afghan player’s minds, at the moment, as all mental and physical focus is on the game against Kenya.
If the Afghanistan cricket team fails to win this crucial encounter, the beneficiaries would be the hosts UAE cricket team, as they would qualify for the Cricket World Cup 2015.
An Op-ed by: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada