Afghanistan news July 24, 2012

Afghanistan 'anxiously waiting' for Australia game

ESPNcricinfo staff

Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Hamid Shinwari has said the one-day game scheduled to be played between Afghanistan and Australia, on August 25 in Sharjah, has been creating a lot of "excitement" back home. This will be Afghanistan's second ODI against a Full Member, following the game against Pakistan, at the same venue, in February.

"The value of the match in terms of increased experience as well as confidence and skill building will be immeasurable," Shinwari said. "Our players and supporters greatly admire and love cricketers from Australia, and the opportunity to play them has created widespread interest and excitement. They are anxiously waiting for the day to come."

Earlier this month, Cricket Australia had confirmed that their team - which will be in the UAE at the time for the series against Pakistan - would play a one-off match with Afghanistan, in an effort to assist with Afghanistan's cricketing development. Afghanistan have qualified for September's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, and they have one-day international status valid until 2013. They have had wins over Kenya, Canada, Netherlands and Scotland, and won more than half of the games they have played.

Waleed Bukhatir, vice chairman of Sharjah Cricket Club (SCC), also extended Afghanistan support. "Afghanistan has a national team that is definitely on the rise. I think it's the responsibility of every cricket-loving country to develop the game and to reach out to a country in need," he said. "We [the SCC] hope Afghanistan's matches against top teams in the world will go a long way in honing their competitive edge."