Afghanistan February 1, 2009

Hamid Hassan - All set for celebrations in Kabul

It is hard to describe how excited I am at Afghanistan reaching the World Cup Qualifiers
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Hamid Hassan

It is hard to describe how excited I am at Afghanistan reaching the World Cup Qualifiers. When I think that we came so close to being defeated by Cayman Islands on Friday and getting knocked out, I still can’t believe that the rain saved us from defeat!

Thankfully the performance on Saturday was much better and we finally made some runs in this tournament, before Mohammad Nabi and I shared most of the wickets when we were bowling.

When the game finished we still didn’t know where we had finished in the table and then somebody came over to tell our manager that we were the Division 3 Champions and we just started jumping around in our changing room and singing!

We then travelled to Belgrano, which is the main ground in Argentina, where there were still lots of people waiting to see the presentation despite the fact the game at that ground had finished over one hour earlier. We got a really nice round of applause and then we were presented with the trophy. I had lots of television interviews to do before I could join my team mates in the celebrations!

I am about to fly back to Afghanistan tonight from Buenos Aires Airport, but it is such a long journey we will not get back home until Tuesday. There will be lots of people waiting for us in Kabul and I am very excited about seeing them. When we won Division 4 in Tanzania there were lots of people at the airport so, as we have won Division 3, there will be even more people there, blocking the roads and celebrating by banging drums.

I really enjoy the celebrations as we have such great fans. The people in Afghanistan pray for us and are waiting for the trophy to come home so we can all celebrate together.

After the celebrations in Kabul, I will go home to Peshawar for a couple of days and then head to play first-class cricket in Pakistan. We then will have a training camp in early March, which will hopefully help our preparations ahead of the Qualifiers. We had a camp in Lahore before this tournament, where I was coached by some of the greats of the game, and I hope I will be able to learn a lot more about the physical and mental side of the game.

We are all really excited about the challenge of playing against the best Associate teams. We know that we have to improve on our batting as I think we are capable of doing much better. We have proved in Division 3, 4 and 5 of the World Cricket League that we have a great bowling attack and that is our strength, but we need to start scoring at least 200 runs as it will be harder against the stronger teams. I think our batters have the talent to score at least 250.

It will be amazing playing against some of the top Associate teams that I have watched play on television at previous World Cups, but we will remember if Ireland can beat Pakistan and Kenya can get to the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, then we can also cause some surprises. If I have learnt anything from the game against the Cayman Islands, it is that anything can happen in cricket!

I am looking forward to playing against people like Steve Tikolo from Kenya and Jeremy Bray from Ireland and we will be really happy to have the chance to play against such good players.

Finally, I would like to thank everybody who has read my column this week and for all of the messages. All the team used to gather around the computer in the evenings to read all of the comments from fans and all of the messages of encouragement were a real inspiration for us.

I hope you will continue to support us and bring us luck at the World Cup Qualifier as we are all desperate to play ODI cricket and reach 2011.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Charmetrepe on February 12, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    Hi all,

    my friend told me about this forum so i decided to sign up.

    hopefully i can participate in some lively discussions here!

    looking forward to talking to you all. :)

  • anwar khan zadran,london on April 15, 2009, 15:50 GMT

    ohhhh my god we defeet scotland this is brillant afghans my great nation we will keep afghan flag top on the world

  • Abdul Qayyum on April 3, 2009, 6:49 GMT

    Well done afghanistan i will pray for all the guyes to win the tournament best of luck to the world cup qualifying in south africa.thanks

  • sediq heran on April 1, 2009, 22:48 GMT

    i am proud of guys well done.sediq heran from belgium

  • Aimal Hakim on February 16, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Gr8 Job and what a wonderful achievement!

    Congrats to all the Afghan nation. It is really a moment of joy, glory and fame seeing Afghanistan polishing their talent and shining swiftly. The passion every cricket lover has is a good means to unity in the country. Let me also thank my Pakistani and India fellows for their nice comments and promising wishes.

    Every match we followed, every moment we prayed and all the refreshes we made during matches were well responded by the National team and that is why everyone is saying "You deserve to play at 2011 world cup".

    Long live Afghanistan and see you soon @ world cup 2011.

  • OldTimer on February 6, 2009, 22:16 GMT

    I am from India, but to me the Afghanis are brothers as well. Our great poet, Tagore, wrote a story called "Kabuliwallah" which was made into a fine film-- and Hamid Karzai and family have lived in India, and he was guest of honour riding with our President at our Republic Day parade celebrations. This is also one thing in which Indians and Pakistanis are completely united, as well-- and you dont have to be a Muslim to appreciate Afghanistan, all you must do is to appreciate real Afghani seekh kebab and your heavenly firni. :-). Seriously, guys, congrats again and see you at the World Cup.

  • obaidullah ahmadzai on February 6, 2009, 19:50 GMT

    i just wish u all guys good luck in south africa i hope u can make it to world cup and in about 3 or 4 years time i will be in afghanistan cricket team at the moment im playing county matches and getting good couching from county cricket couches afghanistan opening batts man should try hard and work on its batting GOOD LUCK

  • obaidullah ahmadzai on February 6, 2009, 19:49 GMT

    i just wish u all guys good luck in south africa i hope u can make it to world cup and in about 3 or 4 years time i will be in afghanistan cricket team at the moment im playing county matches and getting good couching from county cricket couches afghanistan opening batts man should try hard and work on its batting GOOD LUCK

  • gautham kamath on February 5, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    congrats Afghanistan... iam an Indian cricket fan and i hope Afghanistan qualify for the 2011 WC.

  • Karthik on February 4, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    congrats to afghan Team well done guys

  • Charmetrepe on February 12, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    Hi all,

    my friend told me about this forum so i decided to sign up.

    hopefully i can participate in some lively discussions here!

    looking forward to talking to you all. :)

  • anwar khan zadran,london on April 15, 2009, 15:50 GMT

    ohhhh my god we defeet scotland this is brillant afghans my great nation we will keep afghan flag top on the world

  • Abdul Qayyum on April 3, 2009, 6:49 GMT

    Well done afghanistan i will pray for all the guyes to win the tournament best of luck to the world cup qualifying in south africa.thanks

  • sediq heran on April 1, 2009, 22:48 GMT

    i am proud of guys well done.sediq heran from belgium

  • Aimal Hakim on February 16, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Gr8 Job and what a wonderful achievement!

    Congrats to all the Afghan nation. It is really a moment of joy, glory and fame seeing Afghanistan polishing their talent and shining swiftly. The passion every cricket lover has is a good means to unity in the country. Let me also thank my Pakistani and India fellows for their nice comments and promising wishes.

    Every match we followed, every moment we prayed and all the refreshes we made during matches were well responded by the National team and that is why everyone is saying "You deserve to play at 2011 world cup".

    Long live Afghanistan and see you soon @ world cup 2011.

  • OldTimer on February 6, 2009, 22:16 GMT

    I am from India, but to me the Afghanis are brothers as well. Our great poet, Tagore, wrote a story called "Kabuliwallah" which was made into a fine film-- and Hamid Karzai and family have lived in India, and he was guest of honour riding with our President at our Republic Day parade celebrations. This is also one thing in which Indians and Pakistanis are completely united, as well-- and you dont have to be a Muslim to appreciate Afghanistan, all you must do is to appreciate real Afghani seekh kebab and your heavenly firni. :-). Seriously, guys, congrats again and see you at the World Cup.

  • obaidullah ahmadzai on February 6, 2009, 19:50 GMT

    i just wish u all guys good luck in south africa i hope u can make it to world cup and in about 3 or 4 years time i will be in afghanistan cricket team at the moment im playing county matches and getting good couching from county cricket couches afghanistan opening batts man should try hard and work on its batting GOOD LUCK

  • obaidullah ahmadzai on February 6, 2009, 19:49 GMT

    i just wish u all guys good luck in south africa i hope u can make it to world cup and in about 3 or 4 years time i will be in afghanistan cricket team at the moment im playing county matches and getting good couching from county cricket couches afghanistan opening batts man should try hard and work on its batting GOOD LUCK

  • gautham kamath on February 5, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    congrats Afghanistan... iam an Indian cricket fan and i hope Afghanistan qualify for the 2011 WC.

  • Karthik on February 4, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    congrats to afghan Team well done guys

  • Idrees Mohmand on February 3, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    Great Job done by the Afghan Lions... You guys have made us so proud and so happy... I wish i were in Kabul so that i would join with thousands of other fans to welcome our heroes back with the trophy. Keep it up u championsss.. Hope u'll do even better in the World Cup Qualifying round...

    Many many congratulations to my countrymen too.

  • askar niazi on February 3, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    first of all i congrat ya guys on winning div.3 :) that's a moment of pride for all of us!!! so CHEERS

    2ndly I'd like you guys not to depend on just a couple of batsmen scoring half centuries and giving us a total of 160-190 which is really hard to defend against better teams.. so time for the batsmen to step forward and get some runs on the board. I'll say openers should really STAND UP!!

  • khalid ismailzad on February 3, 2009, 5:32 GMT

    Congratulations on the success of the Afghan Cricket team

    Dear all, Many congratulations for the great success of Afghanistan cricket team, Let’s keep our fingers across to almighty Allah for their success in world Cricket Tournament 2011.

    Reverently

  • Idrees Mohmand on February 3, 2009, 4:56 GMT

    Well done Hamid Hassan and of course the rest of the team.. So happy to see the team winning... You guys can do better and of course u will show that in Division 2. Wish you all best of luck.

    I wish i were in Kabul so dat i could join the other fans of our great team to celebrate this Great Victory.

    We are proud of our cricket heroes.

  • Pakistani on February 3, 2009, 4:16 GMT

    Come On Afghanistan!!! World Cup belongs to you!!! My prayers are with you.

  • Shahid Mahmood on February 2, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    As a pakistani and an x-university captain, I can tell you that we all followed your success with great pleasure. But now the most important thing is if Kabir can get you people to play a lot of matches against against first class teams on pitches which resemble those in South Africa. There are those like you who play first class but its about the others who don't. And then if he can bring in some top batsmen and spiner coaches for preprations. It's gone be a little harder on South African pitches and against better teams. Top order performances to see of new ball is the key.

    I wish to see Afghanistan play world cup and will be praying for you people just like whole the Pakistan does. Good Luck and yes happy celebrations. Last but not least, you personally deserved this too.

  • Hilal on February 2, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    Thank you for making us proud. We desperately needed to win. We are waiting for you to arrive to Kabul so we can celebrate. We prayed for you throughout this tournament.

    Keep up the good work and Inshallah you will qualify for the world cup.

  • ubaidullah on February 2, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    congrats: to all of afghanis in Afghanistan and specially to wonderfull and skillfull players that have done so much from 2008 till now hope that they should win cup in south africa too.

    with warm regards ubaidullah gulabyar ahmadzai formar domistic cricket player

  • Spinghar Safi on February 2, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    Thanks alot Hamid for your wonderfull bowling and wish you a very happy journey to home!

  • Kakail Nuristani on February 2, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    I feel a great sense of pride in me now that I have my own country to cheer for in a game that I have grown up to play all my life. I congratulate Afghanistan as a nation for the terrific achievement of ours. I may too optimistic here but I honestly do see Afghanistan making a few upsets in the world cup itself let alone the qualifiers.

  • Iqbal on February 2, 2009, 4:46 GMT

    Well Done Afghanistan!

    I really got happy and I wish you more success in World Cup Qualifier. That is our dream to go to World Cup 2011 and Inshallah we will.

  • Dr. Kamran Turyalay on February 2, 2009, 3:39 GMT

    Well Done Guys am proud of you. I usually don't get time for cricket matches but during this tournament i followed the matches almost over by over (by Refreshing the score card web page every min) except that night match against Cayman Island when the game resumed after rain and they were Cruising towards the target i was very disappointed and went to bed but when i woke up in the morning i saw that the match was to be replayed i couldn't believe how Lucky they are! i am sure that Afghanistan team will qualify for the WC because 1. They have the ability to fight back from any situation 2. They have Luck/prayers on their Side. So Congratulations,I Hope n pray that Afghanistan Cricket team will bring more glory,joy and fame to its nation.

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  • Dr. Kamran Turyalay on February 2, 2009, 3:39 GMT

    Well Done Guys am proud of you. I usually don't get time for cricket matches but during this tournament i followed the matches almost over by over (by Refreshing the score card web page every min) except that night match against Cayman Island when the game resumed after rain and they were Cruising towards the target i was very disappointed and went to bed but when i woke up in the morning i saw that the match was to be replayed i couldn't believe how Lucky they are! i am sure that Afghanistan team will qualify for the WC because 1. They have the ability to fight back from any situation 2. They have Luck/prayers on their Side. So Congratulations,I Hope n pray that Afghanistan Cricket team will bring more glory,joy and fame to its nation.

  • Iqbal on February 2, 2009, 4:46 GMT

    Well Done Afghanistan!

    I really got happy and I wish you more success in World Cup Qualifier. That is our dream to go to World Cup 2011 and Inshallah we will.

  • Kakail Nuristani on February 2, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    I feel a great sense of pride in me now that I have my own country to cheer for in a game that I have grown up to play all my life. I congratulate Afghanistan as a nation for the terrific achievement of ours. I may too optimistic here but I honestly do see Afghanistan making a few upsets in the world cup itself let alone the qualifiers.

  • Spinghar Safi on February 2, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    Thanks alot Hamid for your wonderfull bowling and wish you a very happy journey to home!

  • ubaidullah on February 2, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    congrats: to all of afghanis in Afghanistan and specially to wonderfull and skillfull players that have done so much from 2008 till now hope that they should win cup in south africa too.

    with warm regards ubaidullah gulabyar ahmadzai formar domistic cricket player

  • Hilal on February 2, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    Thank you for making us proud. We desperately needed to win. We are waiting for you to arrive to Kabul so we can celebrate. We prayed for you throughout this tournament.

    Keep up the good work and Inshallah you will qualify for the world cup.

  • Shahid Mahmood on February 2, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    As a pakistani and an x-university captain, I can tell you that we all followed your success with great pleasure. But now the most important thing is if Kabir can get you people to play a lot of matches against against first class teams on pitches which resemble those in South Africa. There are those like you who play first class but its about the others who don't. And then if he can bring in some top batsmen and spiner coaches for preprations. It's gone be a little harder on South African pitches and against better teams. Top order performances to see of new ball is the key.

    I wish to see Afghanistan play world cup and will be praying for you people just like whole the Pakistan does. Good Luck and yes happy celebrations. Last but not least, you personally deserved this too.

  • Pakistani on February 3, 2009, 4:16 GMT

    Come On Afghanistan!!! World Cup belongs to you!!! My prayers are with you.

  • Idrees Mohmand on February 3, 2009, 4:56 GMT

    Well done Hamid Hassan and of course the rest of the team.. So happy to see the team winning... You guys can do better and of course u will show that in Division 2. Wish you all best of luck.

    I wish i were in Kabul so dat i could join the other fans of our great team to celebrate this Great Victory.

    We are proud of our cricket heroes.

  • khalid ismailzad on February 3, 2009, 5:32 GMT

    Congratulations on the success of the Afghan Cricket team

    Dear all, Many congratulations for the great success of Afghanistan cricket team, Let’s keep our fingers across to almighty Allah for their success in world Cricket Tournament 2011.

    Reverently