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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Afghanistan Looking to Clinch a Place in 2011 World Cup in South Africa

(This entry was originally published on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009)

Afghanistan cricket team is going to start its world cup qualifying mission this Wednesday when they will take on Denmark in Vanderbijlpark. Afghanistan has already got past three divisions to progress into this final qualifying tournament where 12 best teams, outside the 10 test playing countries, are going to take part. No doubt, it would not be an easy task of clinching one of the top four places in what would take them to the next world cup which will be held in 2011 in South Asia. Eight out of 12 participating teams in the tournament have already appeared in the world cup with Kenya reaching the semi final in 2003 world cup held in South Africa. So, you can see that Afghanistan must play their best cricket so far in the history of Afghan cricket if they are to get into the 2011 world cup.

Cricket was introduced in Afghanistan way back in 1839 by the colonial British army, but the game was not developed as expected because of domestic violence as well as British and Russian invasions over the past few decades. However, Afghanistan has showed excellent prospect over the last few years with the help of neighboring Pakistan and its cricket board. The situation in Afghanistan is so intense that Afghanistan even does not have a very good cricket infrastructure. In fact, no foreign team comes on a cricket tour. In fact, Afghanistan cricket team held its pre-tournament training camp in Pakistan ahead of the world cup qualifying tournament.

Afghanistan has already showed what they are capable of by getting past three divisions and people of Afghanistan are now expecting that their team would continue their miracle in the world cup qualifying tournament in South Africa as well. In 2006, Afghanistan defeated Marylebone Cricket Club in Mumbai and thus, they have showed that they have talent and skill. Now, what they need is to get exposure in order to develop their cricket and keep the progress going.

Upon the recommendation of Pakistan, ICC, the government body of world cricket, listed Afghanistan as an affiliated member in 2001 and they are yet to become an associated member of ICC. To become an associate member, Afghanistan must show that the country has an infrastructure for cricket and the game is run in the country in an organized way. The overall condition of Afghanistan is so intense that Rahmat Wali, who represented Afghanistan from 2001 to 2006, was killed August last year. So, security has become a big implication for the development of Afghan cricket.

Well, I do not see enough possibility of Afghanistan making it to the next world by winning one of the top spots in the world cup qualifying tournament, considering the strength and experience of other competing teams, but the way Afghan players are developing their skill and flourishing their potential, I think, they can hopefully appear in 2015 world cup; if not 2011 world cup.

Related article:

New York Times

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