Afghanistan news October 5, 2013

Jubilant Afghanistan seek tougher opponents

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Noor Mohammad Murad, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive, has hailed his team's achievement of qualifying for the 2015 World Cup as a great moment in the country's history, and said that it was the start of a new journey during which he wanted Afghanistan to be compared with Full Member nations. Afghanistan secured their passage to Australia and New Zealand by beating Kenya 2-0 in the World Cricket League Championship in Sharjah.

"It is a great moment in the history of Afghanistan," Noor Mohammad told ESPNcricinfo. "We have been waiting for this so long and these moments are not only huge for our cricket but for the entire nation. We have brought happiness to the faces of 30 million people back home, and it's a proud moment for us that we became the reason to unite the nation.

"Our journey doesn't end here. It's a start of another phase and a new journey. We are not going to relax, we have a lot to do ahead of us. We have beaten all the Associate countries comprehensively and now we have set our sights at the next level to play Full Member [nations]. We want to be compared with the Full Member countries, and not at the Associate level. We want to rise more and more, and seek tougher opponents to play us."

About 3000 fans packed the field at Kabul's only cricket stadium to watch the match against Kenya on a big screen, with noisy chants and dancing marking each boundary the Afghanistan batsmen hit. AFP reported that celebratory gunfire rang through the air in Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad. Large crowds also celebrated in the southern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, where police had issued strict warnings before the game that people should not celebrate by firing guns in the air.

"With cricket, we can change the face of the country and change the perception about us," Noor Mohammad said. "Around 75% [of the] population resides in mountains, but cricket bought them on the ground as a unit and they cheered for one cause. Our youngsters are thinking ahead of the war and changing things around them. Winning the World Cup berth can innovate the youth and help them transform their mind-set."

Qualifying for the World Cup has given Afghanistan a massive financial boost. They will receive $1 million from the ICC as preparation fee for the tournament, in addition to the $422,000 awarded in April as part of the ICC's Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme. In 2014, the top Associate and Affiliate Members - including Afghanistan - will also receive approximately $750,000 through the ICC Development Funding Policy.

"We have a plan in place on a daily basis ahead of the World Cup, with the ACB guarding against complacency," Noor Mohammad said. "We have specific plans for the development, skill building and improvement of the fitness of our players. We are not going to take a back seat, ensuring that things move forward with consistency."

"Apart from the common man in the country, cricket is being taken beyond just a game. The political figures in the country are taking a keen interest, with his highness, Hamid Karzai [President of Afghanistan], calling me personally on the success."

Afghanistan will be part of Pool A in the 2015 World Cup, alongside Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, England and Sri Lanka. It has been a remarkable journey, one that began in the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in 2008. In 2010, Afghanistan qualified for the World Twenty20 in West Indies after they beat UAE in the qualifier. They then finished second to Ireland in the qualifiers in 2012 to play the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Earlier this year, the ACB had signed a deal with the PCB with a view to develop their national players within the well-established Pakistan cricket infrastructure. Noor Mohammad hailed the support of Pakistan, but lamented the lack of response from India and Bangladesh.

"We have been writing [to the BCB] for the last one-and-a-half years to play us, but they are not responding positively," he said said. "We are not expecting India to play us, but they can offer us the support through an exchange program for our U-19s, and can help in their development.

"They are our neighbours and have a bigger cricketing history than us. We have seen the example of England supporting Ireland and Scotland, and South Africa helping the other African countries, but we are really disappointed to see the lack of practical support by India and Bangladesh."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | October 8, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    Afghanistan A or under 19 - whatever - is very strong for Kenya.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 7, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    I really want to see Afghanistan succeed, of course. I just hope their board have done their history on the Kenya debacle and are taking notes on the trials of other non-test teams. They really are a joy to watch, though - passionate about cricket, talented, and ambitious without being arrogant or overconfident. Looking forward to seeing how they do at the WC in 2015.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 7, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Perhaps when Pakistan play their next series in the UAE, a tri-series limited-overs tournament including Afghanistan would be on the cards? I think, though, that their story and form will prick the ears of other nations. Another option would be, if decent sponsorship and funding can be found, some A tours for a couple of months at a time. Of course, the ugly truth is that Afghanistan is unlikely to play series or be invited to tour any of the "big three" because as amazing as the Afghan team is proving and improving, unless they can assist lining the pockets of CA, ECB and BCCI, they're batting with one hand behind their backs...

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    Fr600@ Afghanistan A is playing vs Kenya today go and check the squad names First-class debuts Fazal Niazai, Hashmatullah Shaidi, M Nasim Baras, Rahmatullah Sahaq, Sayed Shirzad and Yamin Ahmadzai (Afghanistan) only two national player's are in the squad. Afghanistan is already in the final this only kind of practice match

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | October 6, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    Being too optimistic isn't a good thing. Look what happened today. This is cricket and it takes years sometimes decades to get to the top level. @rakon_me hoping is good but dreaming isn't.

  • POSTED BY huffpost on | October 6, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Let me make a prediction..Afghanistan will beat Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup ..mark my words.....

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    its a good news to see that Afghanistan's success to enter the competition and wish them for further success.

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | October 6, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Now associates are playing international first-class matches whereas full members like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh don't get to play tests.

  • POSTED BY Firdous.Ghani.Staniczai on | October 6, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    I am really grateful to all brilliant Afghan players! they really brought us unity and prosperity after a long time of war! We ask ICC to motivate the youngest Afghan team by giving them the chance to play with test playing nations!

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    We are hopeful and believe that our team will Inshallah give a pleasure with their performance to world Cricket spectators and analyst in 2015 world cup, because the game which they had played recently against top associates had vast difference and was fully one sided. Mashallah our team reached to this stage in very short time compare to other teams.

  • POSTED BY on | October 8, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    Afghanistan A or under 19 - whatever - is very strong for Kenya.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 7, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    I really want to see Afghanistan succeed, of course. I just hope their board have done their history on the Kenya debacle and are taking notes on the trials of other non-test teams. They really are a joy to watch, though - passionate about cricket, talented, and ambitious without being arrogant or overconfident. Looking forward to seeing how they do at the WC in 2015.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 7, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Perhaps when Pakistan play their next series in the UAE, a tri-series limited-overs tournament including Afghanistan would be on the cards? I think, though, that their story and form will prick the ears of other nations. Another option would be, if decent sponsorship and funding can be found, some A tours for a couple of months at a time. Of course, the ugly truth is that Afghanistan is unlikely to play series or be invited to tour any of the "big three" because as amazing as the Afghan team is proving and improving, unless they can assist lining the pockets of CA, ECB and BCCI, they're batting with one hand behind their backs...

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    Fr600@ Afghanistan A is playing vs Kenya today go and check the squad names First-class debuts Fazal Niazai, Hashmatullah Shaidi, M Nasim Baras, Rahmatullah Sahaq, Sayed Shirzad and Yamin Ahmadzai (Afghanistan) only two national player's are in the squad. Afghanistan is already in the final this only kind of practice match

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | October 6, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    Being too optimistic isn't a good thing. Look what happened today. This is cricket and it takes years sometimes decades to get to the top level. @rakon_me hoping is good but dreaming isn't.

  • POSTED BY huffpost on | October 6, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Let me make a prediction..Afghanistan will beat Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup ..mark my words.....

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    its a good news to see that Afghanistan's success to enter the competition and wish them for further success.

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | October 6, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Now associates are playing international first-class matches whereas full members like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh don't get to play tests.

  • POSTED BY Firdous.Ghani.Staniczai on | October 6, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    I am really grateful to all brilliant Afghan players! they really brought us unity and prosperity after a long time of war! We ask ICC to motivate the youngest Afghan team by giving them the chance to play with test playing nations!

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    We are hopeful and believe that our team will Inshallah give a pleasure with their performance to world Cricket spectators and analyst in 2015 world cup, because the game which they had played recently against top associates had vast difference and was fully one sided. Mashallah our team reached to this stage in very short time compare to other teams.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Its time Ireland and Afghanistan were made test-playing nations, with Netherlands on a fast-track list. ICC must eventually prepare another 3 nations to achieve test status in the next 5 years. Scotland, Canada and Kenya are ripe for that. UAE, Namibia and PNG should start mentoring with Pakistan, SA and Australia ASAP, with the goal of becoming test nations in 10 years time. Similarly Uganda also should be propped up, 15 years for them maybe ...

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    ICC Must give more chances to Afghanistan team to play with full member country we believe that we will also defeated them like past , thanks for ESPN Sport....looking for ICC Support in this Regards..

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    Afghan lions proved their talent.

  • POSTED BY Amezaraar on | October 6, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    If you read the comments from M.Nabi/Kabir Khan and Samiullah Shinwari I'm 100% sure it'll bring tears in your eyes... As it happened with me.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    I agree with both Patrick Clarke and Ran Lakmin! Thanks for the nice and true comments.

  • POSTED BY CrICkeeet on | October 6, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    I think after every 4 years Top 2 Associate teams nd bottom 2 Test ranking teams should play Tournament. The top 2 teams will get the TEST STATUS for the next 4 years....

  • POSTED BY Azooz-Afgfan on | October 6, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    This is what we are shouting for since 3 years but nobody is ready to play with us dunno what is the reason maybe they are afraid to lose to us. Even we are not included in Asia cup which hurts more.

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    First of all a big thanks to every one here posting comments on Afghanistan Cricket Team as you all said that Afghanistan and Ireland need more games against these so called full members I think the reason that they don't play Afghanistan or Ireland is they are afraid of losing to them and losing popularity I think ICC should learn from FIFA and make cricket a fair game for every country if ICC don't provide games for Afghanistan and Ireland the popularity of the game will go away from Afghanistan and Ireland also cricket will never get popular any other countries

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 5, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    I know guys are excited about afghans winning against Kenya but why the criticism against bcci wanting to make money. It is a professional sport and not a charity. Having said that they should be invited on to play the A teams or the under 19 teams

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    The top associates/affiliates should be added to the future tours programme for ODI series if they are expected to develop their game they need to play against the best.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    I am from the West Indies and it is sad that the Afghanistan cricket is not being supported by INDIA and BANGLADESH. Set up an tri series between Afghan, Inda A and Sri Lanka A(reason being West Indies A beat both these teams recently). Keep it cricket and not political.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    Afghanistan and Ireland to be Test Nations by 2020, come on ICC make it happen.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Congrats to the Afghans !!! Great achievement...

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 22:19 GMT

    Afghanistan is improving day by day inshallah by 2015 they will be capable of competitive cricket against the big nations.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    Afghanistan & Ireland should both be given dates for admission to Test cricket and be included in the calendar to play the so-called Full Member countries in ODIs.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | October 5, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Well done, I hope they keep improving like this. Maybe in the future Ireland and Afghanistan can take over test status from BD and Zim who don't win very often.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 5, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    icc and acc should support Afghistsn . Afg should be in asia cup.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | October 5, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    The ONLY reason I can think of why the full members don't want to play Afghanistan is because they are SCARED to lose against this talented team. Afghanistan should play a series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe first because those 2 teams are not that good compared to some of the other sides. Also, Afghanistan can beat such teams if they play them regularly. I hope the BCCI does something to help Afghanistan. The world's most powerful board should encourage Afghani cricket by arranging at least a T20 series in the near future. Certainly, Afghanistan are ready for ODI cricket. So make it happen.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 5, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    Congratulations to Afghanistan.

  • POSTED BY goindiago2012 on | October 5, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Afghanistan is a really raw team, unlike Ireland, who are more ready for full member status. That being said, the Afghani time has a lot of talent, I hope the BCB works something out, a tri-series between Bangladesh, Ireland, and Afghanistan would be fantastic. Or you could pick and choose three teams out of four for a tri-series: Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Great news for Afghanistan and world cricket, time for full member boards to invite them to play against their A teams.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 5, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    First congrats to Afghanistan now ACC need to collect more best players around afghanistan for future

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Surely, BCCI can invite the Afghan team to India for a series against the India A team. That would benefit both sides.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    I think Sri Lanka should consider playing a series against Afghanistan as a replacement tour for the Zimbabwe series. It will be a new experience for both the sides and will have attention by the world wide cricket fans.

  • POSTED BY mihir_nam on | October 5, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    ASIA CUP...go pressurize ACC

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 5, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    Great nation great job May Allah help you

  • POSTED BY Natx on | October 5, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Congratulations Afghanistan for making it to the WC2015. You guys worked hard and deserve it. All the best for go on and cause some upset wins in the tournament which would be even sweeter. On helping the upcoming teams to become better, I second the idea from @RaviBabu. ICC should create a FTP for the 2nd tier teams to play regularly each other (more ODI's and possibly one/two unofficial 3-4 day tests) and this would only improve their standards to compete with the top 8. They can also play with the A teams from top tier nations once a year to test them up against the bench talent of top tier.

  • POSTED BY TheRisingTeam on | October 5, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Its good to see 2 new emerging teams Ireland and Afghanistan perform exceptionally well and just clicking boxes everytime. These same 2 teams will be competing against eachother in the final of the Intercontinental Cup so that proves their dominance at that level. I do not understand why there is hardly an ODI series between them and Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They need a new challenge and playing these full members will give them the experience and confidence to excel.

  • POSTED BY RG88 on | October 5, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Its time to buy another vote. BCCI should now take interest in development of Afghanistan cricket, and not only for cricket reasons. The step could be to immediately draft the team into the Asia Cup to be played next year in Bangladesh. Duleep Trophy experiment with foreign teams, apart for Sri Lanka, has been a failure.

  • POSTED BY pindolia on | October 5, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Congrats to Afghanistan but we all have to spare a thought for Kenya which few years ago were regularly beating test nations and also reached the 2003 world cup.We all agree that we do not see Ireland or Afghanistan reaching that feat in 2015.Kenya did that had ICC helped Kenya and also the local association with the help of the Ministry and sponsors come together Kenya would be a test nation by now and force to deal with.Still Kenyans should start a fresh come together and build Cricket again popularize the game get more domestic fixtures and regular fixtures with stronger nations we can rise again.Long Live Kenyan cricket come on Cricket Kenya wake up

  • POSTED BY RaviBabu on | October 5, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    ICC should create two leagues for the greater good of the game. It will ensure games with right competition and removes the second rated tours that some countries do for the sake of it. We should have one Big league having the 8 test playing nations - England, South Africa, India, Australia, Pakistan, Srilanka, West Indies and New Zealand Then another league having the other 8 best teams - Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Kenya, Afghanisthan and UAE They could even consider having 2 spaces in each league for relegation or promotions from below leagues. This way it opens up all possible future options too.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | October 5, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    I dont think Afganistan has any desire for Test credentials - unlike Ireland. Thier ultimate goal in ODI and T20 will be, like Ireland, to claim 8th position in the world rankings - ahead of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who due to the stupid 'Full Member' rules will always be considered as greater teams than them however dire their performance on the field.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Yes, they 'blew the competition away'... Apart from the Irish who qualified two months ago and have a far better record against Afghanistan than they do against them...

    Afghanistans rise has been meteoric, but they are streets behind Ireland in terms of eventual test credentials.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 5, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    I am a Bangladeshi and also s pure Afghanistan fan.I support them from my heart.BCB should support Afghanistan to improve their game.Bangladesh may not played with them but Bangladesh cricket board give chances to Afghanistan players to play in the Dhaka premier league .BCB is also the only cricket board who give chances to Afghanistan players to play in the BPL, one of best franchise T20 league in the world. BCB always try to give support to another nation. I hope after some days Afghanistan will get chance to play against Bangladesh. go ahead Afghanistan.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Congratulation to Afghanistan for their gr8 achievement. Bangladesh should help Afghanistan surely which already they did. Lots of Afghan players played last year BPL and also playing current DPL in Bangladesh which help to develop them a lot. I think Afghanistan should appreciate it heavily. Bangladesh should play ODI and T20 series with Afghanistan as well as Bangladesh A could play FC series with Afghanistan. BCB could think about that. Many many love and respect from a Bangladeshi Afghan cricket fan.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | October 5, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Congratulations and good luck for the future. But if you do arrange a series with India be careful about the timing when announcing the schedule!

  • POSTED BY Captainman on | October 5, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    There should be a 5 match ODI series between Ireland/Afghanistan v Bangladesh/Zimbabwe or something.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    The last two paragraphs are telling, surely India and Bangladesh could host Afganistan for a one off ODI every two years, as England travel to Ireland and Scotland alternately? The Asia Cup should expand to 5 teams as well, if Afghanistan got 4 matches there every two years it would do wonders for them.

    As it is Bangladesh are running scared of losing to Afganistan and the BCCI are only interested in themselves and making as much money as they possibly can. For shame.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Grow up BCCI. Get them in our Duleep and Ranji through shared funding from ACB and ICC.

  • POSTED BY PFEL on | October 5, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    The really blew the competition away

  • POSTED BY EnglishCricket on | October 5, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    Not surprised with Bangladesh board. They even refused recently an ODI series with Ireland. They are clearly afraid of Ireland and Afghanistan. I think ICC should help Ireland and Afghanistan so teams like Bangladesh do not refuse ODI series with them. They will get better with the experience. Our team England recently played with Ireland and Pakistan have also played with Ireland and Afghanistan. They will even play Afghanistan in a T20 game soon.

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  • POSTED BY EnglishCricket on | October 5, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    Not surprised with Bangladesh board. They even refused recently an ODI series with Ireland. They are clearly afraid of Ireland and Afghanistan. I think ICC should help Ireland and Afghanistan so teams like Bangladesh do not refuse ODI series with them. They will get better with the experience. Our team England recently played with Ireland and Pakistan have also played with Ireland and Afghanistan. They will even play Afghanistan in a T20 game soon.

  • POSTED BY PFEL on | October 5, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    The really blew the competition away

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Grow up BCCI. Get them in our Duleep and Ranji through shared funding from ACB and ICC.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    The last two paragraphs are telling, surely India and Bangladesh could host Afganistan for a one off ODI every two years, as England travel to Ireland and Scotland alternately? The Asia Cup should expand to 5 teams as well, if Afghanistan got 4 matches there every two years it would do wonders for them.

    As it is Bangladesh are running scared of losing to Afganistan and the BCCI are only interested in themselves and making as much money as they possibly can. For shame.

  • POSTED BY Captainman on | October 5, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    There should be a 5 match ODI series between Ireland/Afghanistan v Bangladesh/Zimbabwe or something.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | October 5, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Congratulations and good luck for the future. But if you do arrange a series with India be careful about the timing when announcing the schedule!

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Congratulation to Afghanistan for their gr8 achievement. Bangladesh should help Afghanistan surely which already they did. Lots of Afghan players played last year BPL and also playing current DPL in Bangladesh which help to develop them a lot. I think Afghanistan should appreciate it heavily. Bangladesh should play ODI and T20 series with Afghanistan as well as Bangladesh A could play FC series with Afghanistan. BCB could think about that. Many many love and respect from a Bangladeshi Afghan cricket fan.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 5, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    I am a Bangladeshi and also s pure Afghanistan fan.I support them from my heart.BCB should support Afghanistan to improve their game.Bangladesh may not played with them but Bangladesh cricket board give chances to Afghanistan players to play in the Dhaka premier league .BCB is also the only cricket board who give chances to Afghanistan players to play in the BPL, one of best franchise T20 league in the world. BCB always try to give support to another nation. I hope after some days Afghanistan will get chance to play against Bangladesh. go ahead Afghanistan.

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Yes, they 'blew the competition away'... Apart from the Irish who qualified two months ago and have a far better record against Afghanistan than they do against them...

    Afghanistans rise has been meteoric, but they are streets behind Ireland in terms of eventual test credentials.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | October 5, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    I dont think Afganistan has any desire for Test credentials - unlike Ireland. Thier ultimate goal in ODI and T20 will be, like Ireland, to claim 8th position in the world rankings - ahead of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who due to the stupid 'Full Member' rules will always be considered as greater teams than them however dire their performance on the field.