Afghanistan January 27, 2009

Hamid Hassan - I need to learn Spanish

We are all so relieved that we managed to beat Hong Kong on Sunday to get ourselves back into the tournament and give us a chance of getting a place in the World Cup Qualifiers

Hamid Hassan

We are all so relieved that we managed to beat Hong Kong on Sunday to get ourselves back into the tournament and give us a chance of getting a place in the World Cup Qualifiers.

Our matches against Hong Kong are always very close and it was another tense finish; I was praying after every ball towards the end that we would be able to take the final wicket. It was such a relief when we finally got out Nadeem Ahmed. I was thinking in the field of all the people back in Afghanistan who would be praying for us to do well and that was a real inspiration as well for the team.

The first game against Uganda was very disappointing, as we didn’t bat very well, even though we did almost end up winning the game in the end after Rais’s fantastic innings.

When I went into bat and we still needed 30 to win, I didn’t really think I had that much chance of winning the match but I gave it my best effort.

I don’t feel that I have bowled as well as I could have during the course of this tournament. I injured myself a couple of months ago and couldn’t bowl as many overs as I would have liked in the build-up to this event. However, against Hong Kong I finally felt like that I am beginning to find my rhythm and I am hoping that I will be able to bowl at full pace today.

I managed to cut out my no-balls and bowl a much better line and length and I enjoyed the bouncy Belgrano wicket.

Everybody is asking me why I am not bowling my yorkers in this tournament, which worked well for me in Division 4, but I don’t want to bowl them at the moment as I don’t want to over pitch and get hit for six.

The level of interest back at home is amazing and I am getting e-mails and phone calls all the time from people in Afghanistan. I have been told that on the television at home, all the news bulletins have the score update on the screen every minute to keep everybody updated. Some of the radio shows also update the scores all the time, while I know my family follow the scores on the internet.

I have really enjoyed Argentina and the people in Buenos Aires have been extremely hospitable to us. I don’t think that many of them have ever met anybody from Afghanistan before and because I speak good English I have had to do lots of television interviews, although I think I will need to learn some more Spanish!

If we manage to get promoted from Division 3, I want to go back to the market that we went to on the tournament rest day and buy some things to celebrate. I am confident we can win our final three matches and it would be very exciting if we can reach the World Cup Qualifiers. I don’t want to look too much further ahead than that at the moment and instead just concentrate on doing well in Argentina.

Hamid Hassan is the Afghanistan fast bowler

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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