Afghanistan November 23, 2007

Afghans unite in passion for cricket

The Daily Telegraph’s Tom Coghlan reports from Kabul on how cricket is taking a hold in Afghanistan, so much so that he says it is becoming a national obsession





© The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph’s Tom Coghlan reports from Kabul on how cricket is taking a hold in Afghanistan, so much so that he says it is becoming a national obsession.
Cricket has seized the popular imagination in Afghanistan since 2001, a country where the game was unknown until waves of refugees fleeing 30 years of fighting picked it up in camps along the Pakistan border. Earlier this month Afghanistan's fledgling national side came from nowhere to win the Asia Cricket Council's Twenty20 Cup in Kuwait.

Bolstered by that success, the Afghan Cricket Federation is moving to gain entry to the next ICC World Twenty20.

Subtleties of guile and tactic have yet to take hold in the Afghan game, which seems to appeal more to the famously warlike Afghan temperament. Defensive shots are regarded with disdain.

"This is like being in Helmand," muttered an onlooker at the training session, ducking for cover as a ball winged overhead with the trajectory of a tracer bullet, the first in a sustained bombardment.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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