Bats replace guns in Afghanistan
An Afghanistan side is preparing for a seven-match tour of the UK which starts on June 11 and takes in several county 2nd XIs. Taj Malik, the coach, was keen to point out that the trip was about more than PR.
"The Afghanistan team will not be a joke. Our players have completed a 15-day training camp. They are ready to compete. All the Afghans in London are very keen and are waiting for the team."
The Afghanistan Cricket Foundation was only set up in 1995 in part as an effort to persuade young men involved in the civil war raging at the time to "pick up the ball and put down the gun," said one of the founders, Allah Dad Noori.
"When I saw the situation of my country, all the suffering, I thought, 'What can I do?'. At first they were not interested in the game but slowly, slowly you catch the monkey. I have seen people leave fighting and come and play cricket."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa