January 31, 2009

World Cricket League

Hamid Hassan - Thankful for a second chance

Andrew McGlashan

Hamid Hassan

Hamid Hassan can't believe it as another appeal is turned down, Afghanistan v Cayman Islands, World Cricket League, Buenos Aires, January 30, 2009
 © ICC/CricketEurope
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I can’t believe that our hopes of qualifying for the World Cup are still alive after yesterday’s dramatic finish against Cayman Islands.

We are used to having exciting conclusions to our matches, but when the opposition is 35-2 chasing only 63 to win after the target was reduced due to rain you never expect to get away with it and be able to start the match all over again.

But God seems to be on our side in this tournament and the torrential rain in Buenos Aires saved us from a terrible performance yesterday.

I never thought before this tournament that it would rain in Argentina – you only think of sunshine and Maradona when you think of the country – but thankfully we have another chance to beat Cayman Islands today.

There have been so many incredible matches and moments on our journey to the World Cup, it is amazing that when we haven’t performed as well as we should the weather seems to have saved us, like when it rained in Jersey in Division 5 which ruined Singapore’s qualification chances.

We need to improve on our batting, which hasn’t done particularly well at this tournament so far, as we seem to be taking too many risks early on rather than saving wickets for later in the innings.

As a bowler you always want to have some runs on the board to play with, but everybody seems to have struggled with the bat during the course of the tournament.

When the rain came down at 68 for 5, we spent so much time taking the covers off only to then have to put them back on again when the rain started again that I thought we never would get a chance to finish the match yesterday.

But then the early evening sunshine suddenly arrived and I knew we would struggle to defend the rain reduced target that Cayman Islands had to chase.

Kabir Khan, our coach, told us never to give up hope and I tried to bowl as fast as I could when opening the bowling – something I don’t normally do with the white ball but I knew that we needed to get wickets as quickly as possible.

I felt that I was bowling well and seem to be getting my pace back, but no matter how hard I tried I didn’t get much luck with my bowling and they scored two lucky fours off me towards third man and fine leg which left our opposition on the verge of victory until it started pouring with rain. Amazingly, the bright sunshine was out again by the time we got on the coach to go back home – we were so lucky!

When we got back to the hotel, I got phone calls from some of my friends in Afghanistan, even though it was the middle of the night back at home, telling me that we have to improve our performance tomorrow. It is great to have such passionate supporters and I enjoy the pressure of trying to raise the spirits of our people back at home. One of my best friends, who lives in New York, whose name is Rishen Patel, has also been telling me that he has been praying for us all the time and has promised me that he will come and watch all our matches in South Africa if we qualify from Division 3.

Quite simply, we know that we need to win today if we are to finish in the top two at this event and thankfully the weather in Buenos Aires this morning is sunny. Like all match days, I was awake very early this morning getting prepared for the game, and tried to relax by surfing the internet on the computers in the hotel reception.

Of course, we could still qualify if our net run rate is better than Uganda, so we will be hoping that Argentina wins its match, but we don’t want to rely on anybody else.

We are so close to reach the World Cup Qualifier in South Africa and I want to do everything I can to ensure that people back home in Afghanistan will have something to party about in the middle of the night.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Zafar Khan on (February 23, 2010, 8:06 GMT)

I am a Pakistani and anything good I hear about Afghanistan fills my heart with joy. It will b so nice to have Afghan team in WC. All the best to Afghan brothers.

Posted by Chris Janik on (February 8, 2009, 13:38 GMT)

Great fun playing you guys in Jersey! Good luck for the rest of your games! Will catch up during the next tourny! Send my regards to the rest of the team! Cheers

Posted by Basir Ahmed on (February 5, 2009, 6:45 GMT)

Salaam and congratulations to all my dearest country men and specially to my talented, brave and hardworking Afghan cricket team i am not able to express my feelings and emotions my eyes got wet while reading all those great comments about my dearest country team from my friends all over the world and i thank them all for their support and hope they keep backing the Afghan cricket team in the future as well my dear Afghan cricket team! keep up the hard work, our prayers are with you winning and losing is a part of game what matters the most for us is your hard work and the honesty with which you should play the game wish you the best of luck and may Allah be with you your Afghan brother TAL DI WI ABAD AFGHANISTAN (LONG LIVE AFGHANISTAN)

Posted by Eng,Haroon (Kuwait) on (February 3, 2009, 0:10 GMT)

congratulations to all of our nation and thanks to all those who supported our great heroes with their prayers and encouragements. I agree with Hamid's comment that batting has not shown their best and capability and surely that shall be taken in considerations by the responsible concerns in future matches.The batting has to be very careful specially in the beginning and the top order should be trained and guided to tackle the situations with different conditions specially weather conditions and pitch status on that specific day. I think Kabir khan is valuable and great addition to the side as coach and i believe that he have noted all the other weakness as well and well take an urgent corrective action.Great hamid i suggest you to share your reverse swing and fast yorkers technique with the coach because he has been also great fast bowler in cricket world. Once again i congratulate and appreciates the immense efforts put by all team members,really you deserve more and made us proud.

Posted by Mr Niaz Wali SAHAK on (February 2, 2009, 17:19 GMT)

Wish u happy victory for all the Nation of Afghanistan and this is one of the biggest achievement for the history of Afghansistan .THANKS ALLAH .give the unity to all afghans.From London

Posted by Akram Chowdry on (February 2, 2009, 10:18 GMT)

Congrats from people of Pakistan, feel so happy for you guys.

Posted by Spinghar Safi on (February 1, 2009, 22:06 GMT)

congratulation to all Afghans around the world! we have now qualified for the world cup qualifying round and i would request South Africa and the ICC to provide few weeks of training camp for Afghan players in South Africa. And Hamid Hassan your my favorite bowler. I love the way you play!

Posted by Nail Miakhel on (February 1, 2009, 18:03 GMT)

Congratulations to us all Afghanis and the team on winning the division and qualifying for the next tournament. We all are proud of the team, and great effort by all the players, and of course with a lot of prayers from around the world you guys are in touching distance of making it to the WC11 and getting ODI status. Hopefully you all even harder on your skills and be even better prepared for the next trophy and bouncy pitches in South Africa. Congratulations to all the team and all the fans around the world. Keep it up!!!

Posted by Fraser Stewart on (February 1, 2009, 11:21 GMT)

Dear Hameed, Congratulations to you and your team-mates. I have been watching your progress carefully and I am delighted that you will now have a chance to qualify for the World Cup. Everyone at MCC is very happy with your progress since your spell on the Young Cricketers Scheme. I hope you got my text messages and the very best of luck with your preparations for the qualifying tournament. Let's hope that cricket continues to grow in Afghanistan. Fraser, London

Posted by Fawad on (February 1, 2009, 6:38 GMT)

Congrats you have done it. People in Pakistan are following our neighbors, we are best placed to know about your predicament. See you in the World cup. Rain is on your side!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew McGlashan
Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.

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