Afghanistan October 10, 2008

Getting closer to a dream

Hamid Hassan, Afghanistan’s fast bowler, on taking a step nearer to the 2011 World Cup.

Hamid Hassan, Afghanistan’s fast bowler, on taking a step nearer to the 2011 World Cup.

It would be the best moment of my life if I get to play at the World Cup and I am so happy I have taken a step closer to realising that dream today.

There was a lot of pressure on us ahead of the game against Italy, as we knew that if we lost the game we wouldn’t get promoted from Division 4. We played extremely well today and I am proud of the team and very grateful to all the help and support that our coach Kabir Khan has provided us.

My role in the Afghanistan team at this tournament is to come on after the opening bowlers have finished their spell.

I quite like the fact teams think that they have faced all the Afghanistan fast bowlers and then I come on to bowl even faster.

I like bowling with the new ball but in this team I try and use the old ball to my advantage and focus on bowling an excellent line and length. I try to bowl full and straight so I pick up most of my wickets by bowling people or getting them out leg before wicket.

My yorker has worked really well in this tournament and I think that is why I have taken some many wickets in Tanzania.

My cricket idol is Andrew Flintoff – I think he is a world-class player. I was lucky enough to be a net bowler for England at Lord’s back in 2006, when I was with the MCC, and when Flintoff found out that I was from Afghanistan he gave me his England shirt which I often wear and I have it with me in Tanzania. He said that I was a very good bowler and told me to work hard on my game.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to bowl against the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan and I even managed to dismiss Ian Bell and Marcus Trescothick in the nets which made me feel very proud.

After this tournament, we will go back to Afghanistan and have some rest and then probably have a training camp for two or three months to get ready for Argentina.

I would love to have the opportunity to go and play cricket in some other countries – it would be fantastic to play county cricket or the Indian Premier League. My dream would be to play for Lancashire with Flintoff.

I hope that we can finish a wonderful week in Tanzania by winning the final against Hong Kong who is a very strong team.

When we won the World Cricket League Division 5 in Jersey there were some great celebrations when we arrived back in Kabul and people came to greet us at the airport. It would be great if we can repeat those scenes by winning the tournament here as well.

I know from speaking to my family and friends back in Afghanistan that all of the people at home are very happy that we have got promoted – they will be even happier if we add another trophy to our collection.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo